By Mike Sebalu
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has commended the Judiciary for the efforts geared towards safeguarding wildlife in the different protected areas across the country.
UWA Executive Director, Sam Mwandha says all court sentences of those found guilty is a landmark achievement in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
“This is a landmark achievement in our war on illegal wildlife trade in Uganda. We must do our best in our times to protect our wildlife otherwise history will judge us harshly,” Mwandha said.
This follows the Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court sentence on October 20, 2022, of one Ochiba Pascal to life imprisonment for unlawful possession of protected species.
Ochiba was arrested on January 18, 2022, in Namuwongo zone, Kampala after being found in possession of two pieces of elephant ivory weighing 9.55 kilograms without a wildlife use right. While sentencing Ochiba, the Chief Magistrate of the Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court, Her worship Gladys Kamasanyu said the offences of unlawful possession of protected species are rampant and there is need to curb them.
She said that Uganda is home to the world’s most known wildlife ranging from iconic mammals like elephants to small ones like pangolins that need to be protected.
‘Ochiba was a habitual offender having been charged in 2017 with two counts of unlawful possession of protected species and convicted by the same court. Leaving Ochiba in circulation increases the risk of killing endangered species noting that he deserves a sentence that will contribute to making the world a safer place for wildlife and humans.” She added.