Flying squad nets vet with Shs676m ivory, pangolin

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Poaching activity continues to turn into a rather frustrating venture as Flying Squad Team together with Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA) nab a man on suspicion of being in possession of Protected Species under Subsection 30 &75(b) of Uganda Wildlife Act and Conspiracy to commit a felony under Section 390 of the Penal Code Act

A 28 year old suspect identified as Opwonya Edwin a veterinary officer found to be in possession of ivory was arrested by police and other joint security teams.

It’s believed from the informers that the same was, the mastermind behind the poaching and smuggling racket.

The investigating officers from Flying Squad Unit received intelligence led information from a source that some people were in possession of ivory and the detectives then reacted to the information.

The teams were able to recover 113kgs of ivory and 30kgs of Pangolin scales rated at $850 and $3000 respectively all totalling up to $186,050 [Shs676m].

Pangolin is the worlds most trafficked animal characterised by shyness. This makes it hard to be seen all the time and can only be trapped only when its feeding on the ants.

On interviewing him, Edwin confessed that for this particular specie he dug a pit around the anthill that trapped it opening a door to its death.

The suspect is being held at CPS Kampala waiting to appear in courts of law. The arrested confessed to have been in business for many years but acting as a middle man for other people. Most of buyers are found online and from local market.

It should be noted that 53 Cases have so far been registered by flying squad team since the beginning of the year and all suspects have been successfully convicted in courts of law.

“I urge Ugandans to keep working together with police, supplying such information without delay for we shall not sit idly while criminals make our endangered species extinct”, said Commandant Flying Squad ACP. Muhangi Herbert.

There is insatiable demand for Elephant ivory from East and Southeast Asia particularly from China and Vietnam. Pangolin scales are also used as substitutes of Elephant Ivory.

The illegal business in ivory is still rampant despite thorough policing and stiff penalties on those caught.