Uganda: Ivory smuggled as accessories


By Godfrey Olukya, The Africa Report

Date Published
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) says it is concerned about new tactics being used to smuggle ivory out of the country.
Despite tough measures put in place to arrest the illicit trade, the killing of elephants for their ivory has continued, with dealers becoming ever more sophisticated in smuggling.
UWA director, Dr Andrew Seguya decried the rate at which elephants are being killed and ivory being smuggled out of the country.
Seguya, addressing the Uganda parliamentary committee on commissions and statutory authorities, revealed that illegal traders have turned their homes into cottage factories.
Ivory dealers have resorted to chopping elephant tusks into small pieces, transforming them into fashion accessories that they adorn before flying out of the country.
“Bangles, necklaces, earrings and beads made out of ivory are worn by women who smartly walk into Entebbe international airport and fly out of the country,” he said.
“This has been going on for some time without us knowing.
Seguya said they had detected the trick and had made a number of arrests since their discovery.
“But now we have started arresting some of them,” he explained.
“Yesterday, we arrested some Chinese wearing items made of Ivory at Entebbe airport.”
UWA, Seguya said, has no capacity to check all vehicles from northern Uganda, where poaching is rife.
African elephants are endangered as a result of the high rate at which they are being killed for their ivory.
Seguya suggested the government puts scanners in key places to identify suspicious land cargo without necessarily unloading all items on vehicles.