By Emmanuel Ainebyoona, Paul Tajuba
Kampala- East African states rank top in Africa for facilitating illegal wildlife trade mainly with Asian countries, the Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General, Ms Doris Akol, has said.
Citing reports from the World Customs Organisation and Interpol, Ms Akol said in 2014, global large-scale ivory seizures reached record levels, majority of which occurred in East Africa, or in transit in Asia with an East African origin.
“Eighteen large-scale seizures accounted for more than 41.6 tonnes of illicit ivory in 2014. These seizures represent unprecedented increases over previous years, mirroring heightened rates of elephant poaching throughout Africa,” Ms Akol said while opening a training workshop on prevention of wldlife trafficking in Kampala, on Monday.
According to Ms Akol, EAC accounted for 80 per cent of the major ivory confiscations in Africa in 2013.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority executive director, Mr Andrew Seguya, said airports and border entry points should have scanning equipment to detect wildlife products.
Meanwhile, the UN has written to Uganda over wildlife trophies intercepted at Entebbe airport in March, suspected to have originated from Burundi.
Mr John E Scanlon, the UN environment programme secretary general of convention on international trade in Endangered Species in a letter, tasked both countries to work together and confirm all the stockpile originality.
addressed to Mr James Lutalo, the commissioner of wildlife conservation, tasked Uganda and Burundi to work together and confirm all the stockpile originality.
“….information suggests that the seized ivory may include tusks that originated from registered ivory stockpile of Burundi…..the secretariat has written to Burundi asking the party to urgently confirm the status of Burundi ivory and investigate how ivory from the stockpile could have made its way into the ivory trade,” Mr Scanlon, wrote, before applauding Uganda for the seizure.