The Director Conservation Uganda Wildlife Authority John Masambo has asked law enforcement officers from Uganda and Kenya to build a strong working relationship in order to help the two countries mitigate illegal wildlife trade across the border.
The Director noted that fighting illegal wildlife trade between Uganda and Kenya is still a big challenge because the enforcement officers are not sharing intelligence information which has enabled the business to progress.
Masambo made the appeal at Hotel Africana where he was opening a one week training workshop for Security personnel from Uganda and Kenya,Migration officers, customs, civil aviation personnel among other stakeholders.
“We need to combat illegal wildlife trade between the two countries; the only way to achieve it is through creating good working relationship among the security, migrations and customs officers at the border points between Uganda and Kenya because that is where most of the transaction are being carried out by the dealers,” he said.
The objective of the training is to equip the security personnel with skills on how to detect illegal wildlife elements which on many occasions are concealed in luggage by the dealers who are on transit from Uganda to Kenya and vice versa.
The training is being conducted by UWA in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Masambo observed that the two countries are losing billions of revenues from tourism sector due to the rampant poaching.
According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora report released in 2013 , Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania were ranked as the sources for illegal wildlife trade in Africa with China and Thailand being the leading destination for Ivory from East Africa and Africa in large.
According to information available, Malaba and Busia are the leading border points where ivory smuggling is at a high rate. Other entries are the International Airports such as Entebbe in Uganda.
Uganda earns about USD1.4 billion from the tourism sector but the sector is challenged by the high incidences of poaching.
The report also shows that Uganda may lose its economic benefits associated with tourism if the situation is not contained.
Steve Njumbi, the Head of programs at IFAW cautioned the two countries to invest more resources in combating illegal wildlife trade adding that IFAW is committed to work with the two countries to ensure that wildlife is protected.