By Fred Kiva
Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) is joining Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in scaling up the fight against wildlife crimes.
Uganda Wildlife Authority Public Relations Officer Jossy Muhangi said this is just enhancement in areas of wildlife crime investigation and intelligence.
“We have always worked with UPDF in doing patrols and investigations since 2015.They help us in guarding tourists and also protecting national parks from external aggression,” he said.
Muhangi revealed that as part of enhancement in wildlife crime investigation and intelligence, the government agency recently appointed the manager in charge wildlife crime investigation and another one in charge of wildlife crime intelligence.
“They are all from UPDF,” he said.
Speaking to Kampala Post UPDF Spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire said “We are building a more robust coalition with other agencies to fight wildlife crime.”
He revealed that the army will be working alongside UWA in doing operations in national parks and other protected areas.
“UWA takes lead in this matter and it’s within their strategic plan,” Brig Karemire said.
The move comes barely two weeks after a pride of eleven lions, one of Uganda’s leading wildlife tourist attraction species, were reportedly poisoned to death in Hamukungu Fishing village in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Three lionesses and eight cubs were reportedly poisoned by a cattle keeper whose cow had been devoured by the wild cats.
Uganda Wildlife Authority and other conservationists have condemned the killing of lions and asked for a deliberate effort to fight human-wildlife conflict. Tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu who visited Hamukungu following the incident vowed to have the culprits and other perpetrators of such wildlife crime arrested.
Asked on whether the killing of lions could have triggered UPDF involvement, Brigadier Karemire said “We have always been partners in protecting this strategic natural resource.”
More so, UWA Communications Officer Bashir Hangi recently said that the Agency is reviewing the UWA Act to institute punitive measures to deal with poachers, traffickers and all those found guilty of killing wildlife.