A training workshop to equip enforcement officers stationed at One-Stop Border Posts (OSBP) in Kenya and Uganda with skills to detect and deter transnational wildlife trafficking began today in Kampala, Uganda.
The training workshop hosted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) aims to empower the officers from Wildlife Authorities, Customs, Immigration, Police, Civil Aviation Authorities and Border Internal Security Organization with the necessary skills to interdict and stop illegal wildlife crime.
“We appreciate IFAW’s continued partnership and support. The training offers us a greater opportunity in terms enhancing the capacity of our personnel to detect and deter cross boarder wildlife crimes. Poaching and trafficking of wildlife species is real and must be tackled using all available strategies through a multi-institutional approach” stated Sam Mwandha, Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
The interactive training sessions will build the officers capacity through practical, hands-on skills in amongst others; the identification and detection of wildlife species and trophies commonly trafficked between the two countries which are transit and source hubs in the wildlife trafficking supply trade chain; correct exhibit handling; wildlife cybercrime investigations and operations, smuggling techniques, how to conduct vehicle searches and, information management and sharing.
“IFAW’s partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) recognises that success in addressing wildlife trafficking can only be attained by forming linkages or networks that allow for structured and sustained coordination and collaboration among law enforcement agencies not only across departments but across national borders,” stated Steve Njumbi Head of Programmes at IFAW East Africa at the official opening of the training workshop.
The scale of animal poaching and trafficking of high value wildlife species is a serious threat to the survival and conservation of many wildlife species globally and is in need of an urgent response. Wildlife trafficking which involves amongst others elephant ivory, rhino horn, reptile skins, pangolins and leopard skins destroys biodiversity, damages local and national economies, damages human health and well-being, contributes to corruption and violence and causes immense cruelty and suffering to animals. It is one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities – valued at billions of US dollars annually and ranks in the top most lucrative transnational organized crimes, behind drug trafficking, money laundering and counterfeiting.
According to an IFAW report Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, ivory smuggling and the wildlife trade has been linked to other forms of organized crime including terrorism, illegal arms and drug trafficking.
Since 2007, IFAW has held more than 110 training workshops on the prevention of wildlife trafficking where more than 3,870 officers from over 40 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean have been trained. Trainings have been held in collaboration with national institutions in the respective countries and other organizations including Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Interpol, Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF), Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
About UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority)
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is a semi-autonomous government agency that conserves and manages Uganda’s wildlife for the people of Uganda and the whole world. This agency was established in 1996 after the merger of the Uganda National Parks and the Game Department, and the enactment of the Uganda Wildlife Statute, which became an Act in 2000. UWA is mandated to ensure sustainable management of wildlife resources and supervise wildlife activities in Uganda both within and outside the protected areas. http://www.ugandawildlife.org/