When some months ago the theft of a substantial quantity of ivory from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) strong room was reported, reactions were swift to call for a comprehensive investigation, spurred by President Museveni taking an interest and making reference in his opening address to the Africa Travel Association World Congress which was held at the time in Kampala.
Suspensions of senior staff followed soon afterwards, eventually also extending to UWA’s Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Seguya, who had actually blown the whistle when discrepancies between actual stock and stock on the books were brought to his attention at the time.
It is with some satisfaction, therefore, that it can be reported today that a combined security operation in Entebbe by police, UWA intelligence personnel, and other state agencies managed to seize nearly a ton of the stolen ivory, besides a staggering two tons of pangolin scales, all destined to be smuggled out of the country.
Poaching in Uganda, while compared to some neighboring countries at the very low end of the scale, is often still of a subsistence nature, although the trade in bush meat has increased over the past years. With poaching itself, therefore, a lessor problem, Uganda has, however, become a transit country for blood ivory from war-torn South Sudan and the lawless parts of the Eastern Congo where militias control large swathes of land and are said to be the key perpetrators in poaching elephant to finance their operations and purchase of arms, ammunition, and other supplies.