UWA: DNA Results Trace Confiscated Ivory To Tanzania

1395 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Dr. Andrew Seguya, the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority says after thorough tests and analysis, the DNA samples taken show that the ivory was obtained from Ruaha National Park and the corridor connecting Ruaha and Tarangire National Park.

DNA tests carried out on the last two sets of ivory impounded by Uganda Revenue Authority-URA show that the consignment came from Tanzania, a report by Uganda Wildlife Authority has revealed. Late in 2013, URA and Uganda Wildlife Authroity impounded over 1000 kilograms of ivory en-route to unknown destinations. Owino Odhiambo, a Kenyan national and his Congolese business partner Emile Kayumba Ogane claimed ownership of the ivory. 

Ogane claimed that he had obtained a license from the Congolese government to trade in the ivory. The Anti corruption court issued arrest warrants for the duo who went into hiding. Conservationists were later stunned when the Nakawa High Court ordered URA to release the consignment to the businessman. In his ruling, Justice Wilson Masalu Musene said the applicant had fully made out his case by proving ownership of the goods which was not rebutted. 

The judge said URA was at the time holding on to the goods instead of dealing with them as such and authorizing the goods to proceed as they are not subject to the laws governing goods whose origin is in Uganda. Musene therefore ruled and ordered for the immediate release of the 832 pieces of ivory lying at Nakawa to Ogane. He further ordered the respondent to re-export the ivory out of Uganda as it was in transit. He also directed Uganda Police Force, UWA and all other authorities to give effect to the release order. 

However, URA and UWA appealed the ruling. A judgment is yet to be passed. Uganda wildlife Authority took the samples of the ivory for tests to ascertain their origin. Test results from both Uganda and USA confirm that the ivory originated from Tanzania but not DRC as claimed by Ogane. Dr. Andrew Seguya, the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority says after thorough tests and analysis, the DNA samples taken show that the ivory was obtained from Ruaha National Park and the corridor connecting Ruaha and Tarangire National Park.

He says the Rhino Horns confiscated with the ivory originated from South Africa.

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Seguya says the results should dispel the notion that DRC and Uganda are the greatest culprits of trade in endangered species. He says as the region, they have made great strides in ensuring that poaching becomes an expensive venture for the culprits.
 
He says the three countries have set up programmes to educate communities living near protected areas to appreciate the importance of wildlife. He also says income generating activities, social services and revenue sharing has been introduced so that the communities can benefit and stop poaching.
 
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Uganda has been referred to as a conduit for ivory smuggling. Conservationists attribute this to weak laws in the country. They also say lapses in security systems and corruption by immigration officials play a big role in making Uganda a safe haven for illegal trade in endangered species. Uganda Wildlife Authority has proposed a jail term of over 20 years for dealers in ivory in the proposed wildlife amendment act. They also want the culprit to pay values equivalent to the confiscated ivory or wildlife species caught.

 

Tagged with: ivory ura