Kampala. The European Union has asked Uganda to destroy more than 15 tonnes of ivory impounded, valued at about Shs81 trillion, from illegal traders.
Two weeks ago, local security seized 1,351 Kilogrammes from three West African nationals on transit to foreign markets, one of the biggest consignment held in Uganda’s history.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) spokesman Simplicious Gessa told Daily Monitor that the authority is waiting for Cabinet decision to dispose of the treasured elephant tasks.
“I commend Uganda government for controlling poaching locally but it should fight being a transit country. I also call upon local authorities to destroy the ivory to send strong signal to those in the illicit business,” European Union (EU) Ambassador Kristian Schmidt said.
Speaking at the United Nations World Wildlife Day celebrations on Friday at the Uganda Museum, Kampala, Mr Schmidt also called on government to expedite the amendment of the Uganda Wildlife Act that proposes tougher penalties on poachers.
The amended Bill suggests life sentence, a fine of Shs20 million or both unlike the present law which gives a light sentence of three years in jail or a Shs1 million fine or both.
While reading President Yoweri Museveni’s speech at the same event, Tourism minister Ephraim Kamuntu said government is committed to curtailing ivory trade throughout Uganda.
“As we speak, Uganda Wild Life Authority has acquired sniffer dogs, a boost for the institutions performance to detect ivory smuggling. I call upon Ugandan security, the public and partners to conserve our wildlife for sustainable development of our country,” he said.
He added: “We still have a challenge of isolated cases of poaching, ecological research among others but government is committed to address all these challenges.”
©Alleastafrica and Daily Monitor