In Kampala last Friday Ugandan security authorities arrested three suspects involved in ivory smuggling as a ton of ivory was confiscated from a residential house in Kampala. The three are of Liberian and Guinea-Bissau nationals, and had apparently been under observation for some time, before the trap was sprung on them.
It is understood that the markings found on tusks indicate that it was brought into Uganda illegally from a neighbouring country.
According to ATC News online, Uganda has in the past often been used to smuggle ivory from Congo and South Sudan to the port of Mombasa but greater cargo surveillance, better intelligence gatherings and improved vigilance has led to many such shipments now being confiscated enroute to be put on ships destined for Asian consumer countries.
Uganda’s elephant population has over the past 25 years grown to nearly 6.000 again and poaching incidents are few following directives of President Museveni to crack down hard on poachers who risk being shot in pursuit when found inside or outside the parks.
Africa’s elephant population has reduced from nearly 1.5 million in the 1960’s to less than half a million today, with in particular the past few years being particularly bloody as for instance the large herds of the Selous were decimated by well connected poaching kingpins.