7suspected poachers arrested with ivory in Queen Elizabeth National park

The seven suspects were arrested at Katunguru trading center at a border between Rubirizi and Kasese.

According to the Uganda Wildlife Authorities, they estimate the ivory pieces to weigh 26kg which is worth Shs30m.

Kulu Kirya, a warden in the park, said that they received a tip off that there were some people transporting ivory which forced them to mount a road block at Katwe.

He said their efforts were rewarded when they arrested these men at Katunguru heading to Kasese town.

Authorities in park revealed that over 16 elephants have been killed in the last seven months and the poaching activity increased.

Kirya said that some arrests have been made but the law is still very weak as these people come out sooner than later.

He said that when one is found guilty of poaching in a national park, he is given 5 years in prison or paying a fine of shs1million.

He said that people find it easy to pay the fine compared to the lucrative business in the ivory

The Mid South Western region police commander Hillary Kulayige said there is need for parliament to enact laws to punish such people who engage in poaching.

He said that tourism is one of the major source in Uganda and it has to be protected.

Hilary Kulayige identified the suspects as Ezra Ndyakira, Enock Orakigamba, Babu Marina, Mubarak Zakaria, Baluku Jackson, Wilson Baguma and Barnabus Kwehangana.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular game reserve which stretches from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori range in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from savanna and wetlands to gallery and lowland forest.

Elephants are among the animal species in this vast game reserve. This remarkable diversity is reflected in its bird list of over 550 species, the largest of any protected area in Africa.

The national park is located in western Uganda, spanning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Bushenyi, Rubirizi and Rukungiri. It is also situated in western arm of the western rift valley.

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