URA and partners strengthen fight against illicit wildlife trade

Illegal wildlife trade continues to threaten the existence of endangered species as the global demand for wildlife products increases. Uganda loses more than UGX 2 billion annually to poaching.

Customs with support from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and their partners hosted the operation SAMA workshop at K-Hotels in Entebbe. This was in an effort to save wildlife through multilateral cooperation between African states.

The workshop provided a platform for the member states to share best practices that they can emulate from each other in order to combat illicit wildlife trade across the continent.

“This workshop illustrates our commitment to work with all African states in the fight against the illicit trafficking of wildlife species as well as the dismantling of organized criminal networks that destroy our ecosystems and make a profit from natural resources that ought to benefit local communities through tourism,” Dr. Geoffrey Okaka, the Ag. Commissioner Customs stated.

“We are hopeful that this workshop will yield results in intelligence shared, increase the number of seizures and dismantle more illicit wildlife trade networks not only across the continent but globally,” Ms. Sharon Lesa Nyambe, the Country Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Uganda stated.

Customs has implemented measures to fight the smuggling of wildlife among which is the National Inter-Agency taskforce comprised of customs officers, law enforcement organizations, and other governmental organizations like Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

Additionally, Customs Enforcement has the added advantage of exchanging information and intelligence with other revenue administrations and Port Control Units all over the world via a secure communication system, as well as image analysis using scanners. This has aided in the targeting of containers and individuals involved in this vice, making it easier to curb illegal wildlife traders.

“As the lead agency at all borders across the country, the role of Customs in the fight against illicit wildlife trade is detrimental in the preservation of these endangered species,” Lesa Nyambe remarked.

Member states included delegates from Gabon, Cameroon, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Vienna, and Uganda. UNODC has been delivering specific technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of wildlife law enforcement community to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes against protected species of wild fauna and flora.

By Jacinta Obore Mirembe

Add to Bookmarks
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
(Visited 34 times, 1 visits today)
Add to Bookmarks (0)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Comments yet!

Your Email address will not be published.

Skip to content