Crime & Investigation

Karamoja: Police Arrests 3 for Trafficking Pangolin and Scales

Police in Namalu district in Karamoja is holding three suspects over illicit wildlife trade. The trio, dosage all residents of Namalu was arrested while vending 10 kilograms worth of pangolin scales and a live pangolin without a wildlife users’ right license as required in the Wildlife Act.

The suspects identified as Limkol Tekla, approved Nyangan Richard and Alakas Richard all in their 30s are accused of possessing protected wildlife trophies contrary to Sections 75 (b) and 30 of the Wildlife Act.

Tekla, hospital one of the suspects revealed to officers of the Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN) that he and the other two were seeking market for the pangolin and the scales.

He said they needed Ush 300,000 per kilogram for the scales and Ush 5 million for the live giant pangolin which he said they had kept for the last one year.

Tekla also confessed that the trio had been dealing in illegal wildlife for the last three years despite knowing that this was against the law.

The traffickers are now in the police custody and will be charged with two counts of illegal possession of wildlife species contrary to section and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Pangolin species are mostly concentrated in the northern and north eastern regions of Uganda. The giant pangolin is the largest of all pangolin species.

While its average mass has not been measured, one specimen was found to weigh 33 kilograms. Males are larger than females, with male body lengths about 140 centimeters (4.6 ft) and females about 125 centimeters (4.1 ft).


Pangolins are eaten, but it is also believed that their scales possess medicinal value for curing a variety of ills like excessive nervousness, hysterical crying in children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever and deafness.

However their scales are also used in making expensive jewelry. This explains why lately, there’s an increasing demand of pangolin scales on the global dark market which has made the species, just like elephants and rhinos highly endangered.

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