Wildlife law enforcement actors from Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN), Eagle Network together with police mounted an operation on 22nd September, 2015 in Bulisa in which they seized 30Kgs of Hippopotamus Ivory and arrested one person who had illegally got the Contraband. The suspects identified as Chris Wendi is currently detained at Masindi police station waiting prosecution. His other accomplice identified as Kadogo however managed to escape and is being looked for by police.
In a press statement sent to media houses by the Information officer NRCN, Laban Muhondo, it is stated that Hippos are under part B of the Game Preservation & Control Act of 1959 as amended and are not to be hunted or captured except under special permits, however their population has drastically decreased and are now listed in Appendix one by CITES (Convention on International Trade of wild Fauna and Flora). Hippo teeth or Ivory are also used as substitutes for Elephant Ivory.
The operation was done jointly after an investigation in the area, having been informed by concerned citizens about the illegality of the business which has been taking place in Bulisa District and the surrounding areas. When asked about the source of the Ivory, the suspects said they poached from Bugungu Game Reserve and Murchison Falls National Park.
“The suspect and his accomplices have been looking for market for the ivory for months before NRCN officers and the authorities confronted them,” the statement read.
This comes amid rampant cases of poaching in the East African region with reports indicating that a lot of Hippos are being killed in Uganda annually.
Uganda has been identified as one of the leading transit routes for smuggling ivory out of Africa, with several incidents of ivory seizures at Entebbe International Airport and recovery of wildlife carcasses in recent days. The demand for ivory in the Far East has attracted criminal cartels to Uganda, who are feeding the insatiable demand.