UGANDA SEIZES BLOOD IVORY READY FOR SHIPMENT TO CHINA
(Posted 18th October 2013)
News received earlier in the week confirmed a major blood ivory seizure by law enforcement officials in Kampala last weekend, when over 800 pieces were found concealed in a container ready for shipment via the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa to China. Said to be worth over 6 billion Uganda Shillings, the catch will financially pain the middlemen of the illicit trade but have cost several hundred elephant their lives. As Uganda itself has relatively low poaching numbers, suspicion is high and investigations therefore concentrate on Uganda being used as a transit country for ivory poached beyond her own borders, likely in Eastern Congo where the slaughter of wildlife continues almost unabated as a result of the regime in Kinshasa neglecting their duty under the CITES convention.
This is yet another case, several containers from Uganda were of late confiscated in Mombasa upon verification of the cargo manifests revealing smuggled contraband, where Uganda was used as a transit point and a leading Ugandan conservationist blamed corruption as a major cause for this ‘very unfortunate turn of events that Uganda should be used as a smuggling route simply because some of our officials can be bought cheaply’.
Police in Uganda are now looking for a Kenyan by the names of Odhiambo Owino who allegedly was named in the shipment documents as the owner of the cargo to help with the investigation while the driver of the truck carrying the container is already in custody according to a source from Kampala. This latest find reinforced calls by the conservation fraternity for the Chinese government to finally shed their intransigence and begin to treat the growing illegal ivory trade into China as a major crime with the same source saying in a clear fit or rage: ‘They are very ruthless when it comes to dealing with anyone poaching their Pandas but when it comes to tens of thousands of African elephant, they show no concern at all. This is not just bad practice, this is a form of complete racist attitude towards our continent and our wildlife resources. Our tourism industry depends on our wildlife and they stand by idle and see their own countrymen’s greed for ivory carvings decimate our last great herds of elephant. It is time they are told to wake up and make use of their colossal state power inside China to help Africa with concrete measures. The trade must be halted or in 10 years our elephant will be gone. I say enough is enough China, your reputation is on the line here and as if you do not have enough issues with human rights, the Tibet situation and other adventurist claims on territory belonging to others. I say this now because China has been silent and need a wakeup call and these issues sting them. It is their own fault for being silently complicit to the blood ivory trade that I bring up these issues, and let them not mouth off. Let them act’.
This should indeed raise some blood pressure in the political establishment of China or their embassies here in East Africa, but truth told, they have indeed been sitting on their hands and silence is now interpreted as being accomplices in these crimes against our wildlife. Watch this space.