According to a UWA post on their official twitter account, the wildlife crime unit with support from Kasese Police informed the public about the arrest of a UPDF officer Lt. Ssekaja Haruna who was found with elephant ivory. Haruna attached to Kabamba Military in Mubende was found with elephant ivory claimed to be weighing 23 kilograms in Kasese town where he was trying to sell it.
About Elephants and Ivory;
Elephants are among the famous big five of Africa; including lions, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinos. These big five species are arguably one of the major draw-cards of Africa and fortunately Uganda is one of the countries/destinations protecting these amazing attractions.
However, poachers have instead nowadays resorted to hunting these precious creatures for ivory. We’ve all seen photographs of majestic elephants sporting long, off-white tusks on either side of their trunks. This ivory is both beautiful on the animals and essential to the species’ survival. But what exactly is it?
Ivory tusks are actually massive teeth that protrude well beyond the mouths of elephants. Like our own teeth—and those of many mammals—these tusks are deeply rooted. Much of the tusk is made up of dentine, a hard, dense, bony tissue. And the whole tusk is wrapped in enamel, the hardest animal tissue and the part of the tusk that manages the most wear and tear.
Why do elephants have ivory tusks?
Elephant tusks evolved from teeth, giving the species an evolutionary advantage. They serve a variety of purposes: digging, lifting objects, gathering food, stripping bark from trees to eat, and defense. The tusks also protect the trunk—another valuable tool for drinking, breathing, and eating, among other uses.
Just as humans are left or right handed, elephants, too, are left tusked or right tusked. The dominant tusk is usually more worn down from frequent use.
Both male and female African elephants have tusks, while only male Asian elephants, and only a certain percentage of males today, have tusks.
Why is taking ivory tusks from elephants illegal?
Behind every piece of ivory—whether it be a full tusk or carved trinket—is a dead elephant. Researcher says that poachers kill about 20,000 elephants every single year for their tusks, which are then traded illegally in the international market to eventually end up as ivory trinkets. This trade is mostly driven by demand for ivory across the world.
We are at the forefront of efforts to galvanize government and the public to stop wildlife crime. We’re calling on the government to strengthen law enforcement, invest in more boots on the ground to fight such acts that are definitely reducing the population of our wildlife species.
Where are elephants found in Uganda?
Uganda is one of the countries inhabiting elephants in large quantities, with over four protected areas residing these huge gigantic species. The destinations in Uganda residing elephants include; Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National. These are the official national parks in Uganda for viewing the elephants but so many other elephants thrive in the country’s other parks like Semuliki, Bwindi and Kibale Parks but are really elusive.