Information has been received of the killing of a male ‘black back’ gorilla in Bwindi National Park last Friday with added news that the poachers were caught red handed by park wardens, rangers and trackers, who follow the prized gorillas around the clock.
The culprits had with them snares, spears and arrows and a forest antelope was also found dead nearby, having been trapped earlier on.
The three, investigations are ongoing if more people were involved and may have either gotten away or else been sponsoring the poachers to hunt for trophies, have been charged under various sections of the criminal code and can, when convicted, expect to serve long sentences in prison.
Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA expressed their regret over this admittedly rare incident, pointing out that poaching in the two gorilla national parks of Bwindi and Mgahinga had greatly reduced as a result of much better community relations and the sharing of gate and revenue receipts with them, which has in recent years improved the livelihood of communities neighboring the parks tremendously. The conservation fraternity mourns the loss of ‘Mizano” who at the time of his death was 11 years old and only 3 years away from turning in to a ‘silverback’ himself.
Meanwhile have members of the conservation fraternity demanded that maximum sentences be applied and in fact the law be strengthened to afflict greater punishment for any form of commercial poaching in Uganda, as worrying reports over the increasing trade in ‘bush meat’ keep surfacing in the local media, indicating that there are commercial gangs at work, well financed and well organized with a supply chain from the poachers to the tables of mostly city based consumers.