EAST AFRICAN NATIONS TO HARMONISE LAWS ON WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING

KAMPALA East African countries have embarked on their harmonizing laws on the illegal wildlife trade as part of efforts to fight these crimes, says the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Department of Uganda's Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.

The East African countries are already working on mechanisms on how they can combat the illicit trade, he says. "We want our laws to be harmonized. We want all the countries to have tough punishments for the perpetrators like in Kenya where they have a life sentence," he said when closing a five-day workshop for law enforcement officers from different agencies on the prevention of wildlife trafficking in Entebbe, near here, Tuesday.

Lutalo said that although the entire East African sub-region remained a transit route of wildlife trafficking, Uganda remained the most-used route for many wildlife items because of its porous borders and weak laws.

Margaret Kasumba, the acting law enforcement co-ordinator at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), said the authority seized some 4,000 kilogrammes of ivory between 2014 and 2015.

Many other items went undetected because of poor co-ordination among various agencies and lack of skills by law enforcers, she added.

Source: NEW VISION