What you need to know:
- Mr Maurice Nyaligu, the head of the programme at IFAW, said the organisation last conducted DISRUPT at Entebbe Airport in 2017 and several of the beneficiaries have since been transferred to other stations
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) says it has reinforced its capacity to handle wildlife crimes by collaborating with both government and private frontline law enforcement officers at Entebbe International Airport.
Ms Margret Kasumba, the manager law enforcement at UWA, said currently, wildlife efforts are overwhelmingly reactive, focused on short-term results, and despite numerous seemingly large-scale arrests of high-profile poaching and trafficking “kingpins”, they have achieved little success in stemming the swell of wildlife crimes over the last decade.
“Wildlife trafficking is a global catastrophe threatening the survival of iconic species. Uganda is identified both as a source and a transit hub, particularly through the use of the land borders and the Entebbe Airport, for illegal wildlife products,” she said during the launch of the five-day Detecting Illegal Species Through Preventive Training (DISRUPT) at Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe on Monday.
There has been an upsurge in the use of Entebbe airport to smuggle products from Uganda and other countries.
“Efforts by UWA to deploy canine units for scanning and singling out any trafficking incidents have been bearing some fruits for the past four years, but in some cases, wildlife products have transited through the airport,” Ms Kasumba said.
“The training will help to improve the ability to identify smuggled wildlife products, improved ability to counter corruption, and improved overall force protection posture and distinguish real products from fake, or camouflage materials among others,” Ms Kasumba said.
Mr George Owoyesigire, the acting commissioner of wildlife conservation in the Ministry of Tourism, said: “We want to ensure that we effectively protect our resources because there has been an increase in some of the species because of the ongoing efforts to protect and sustainably utilise our wildlife resources.”
Mr Maurice Nyaligu, the head of programme at IFAW, said the organisation last conducted DISRUPT at Entebbe Airport in 2017 and several of the beneficiaries have since been transferred to other stations.
The participants in the ongoing training include; Customs, UWA, Immigration, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Interpol, Internal Security Organisation, Aviation Police, Chieftaincy Military Intelligence, and police officers among others. By Eve Muganga, Daily Monitor