UWA To Launch Canine Unit To Combat Wildlife Trafficking

4197 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
UWA officials say the canine unit will help in detecting illegal shipment of Wildlife products through Uganda.

Uganda is ready to set up its first canine unit at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Entebbe to deal with trafficking in wildlife products. Already a team of 12 staff from Uganda Wildlife Authority have completed 10 weeks training from Tanzania where the programme for the sniffer unit was first launched last year.

UWA officials say the canine unit will help in detecting illegal shipment of Wildlife products through Uganda. The initial target of the unit will be tracking ivory, pangoline scales and Rhino Horns. Jossy Muhangi, the Public Relations Manager at Uganda Wildlife Authority says Uganda Wildlife Education Centre has already donated land to set up the unit.

He says UWA will construct the Canine unit and staff houses. He says Uganda will receive six dogs to start with, which will be deployed at the Entebbe airport. He says they are targeting the cargo section through which most of the illegal wildlife products pass. Muhangi says Wildlife Conservation Society will donate three dogs and another three will be donated by the Africa Wildlife Foundation. 

He says with time, the unit will be stationed at all the entry and exit points of the country.  Today, Uganda Wildlife Authority received a specialized vehicle for the unit and plans are in place to purchase another one for the unit. Muhangi says the unit is ready to roll out operations in November. 

He says the staff are fully equipped with the knowledge to manage the unit and all they now need is a center. When asked about the cost of setting up the unit, Muhangi said he couldn't get the details but said they secured support from partner organizations to kick-start the unit.

Uganda has been identified as one of the main routes for smuggled ivory. Airport police and UWA have impounded more than five tons of ivory in the last four years and more than a ton of pangolin scales. 


Tagged with: snifer dog

About the author

Franklin Ezaruku Draku
Franklin Draku has been a journalist since 2004. In his 12 years of practice, Draku can say he has covered all the journalism beats that exist.

A Uganda Radio Network (URN) staff member since 2010, Draku is based in Arua. This is his second tour of duty in this area. Draku was URN's main education and environment journalist in Kampala for two years 2014 to 2016.

A Kyambogo University graduate, Draku first worked with Arua district based Radio Pacis in 2004. At the station, he was a production assistant, reporter, producer, and then talk show host. In 2008, he joined Transnile Broadcasting Service for a year.

Draku reports intensively on education, tourism, environment and local government. He has twice been a runner up for the National Journalism Awards in 2013 and in 2014.