UWA on the spot over game meat

Animal Conservation
UWA on the spot over game meat
game meat

The inquiry follows reports by the Auditor General that hotels in Kampala have gone wild for game meat.

PARLIAMENT - The parliamentary Committee on Commissions Statutory Authority and State Enterprises (COSASE) has tasked officials from Uganda Wildlife Authority to explain allegations of abetting poaching of wild animals for meat.

The inquiry follows reports by the Auditor General that hotels in Kampala have gone wild for game meat.

The committee continues to interact with officials from Uganda Wildlife Authority to answer queries of the Auditor Generals report of the financial 2022/23 marred with gorilla permit scandals waiting prosecution of the culprits.

The officials led by James Mwandha, executive director Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), for the third day running appeared before the Medard Ssegona-led COSASE and but this time round it was wild meat that popped out of the kitchens of Kampala' hangouts, restaurants and hotels.

"There are hotels advertising that they have game meat, it's only National parks that can give licence to hunt  animals, so as a committee we want to know if it's a source of revenue for them," Bukimbiiri MP Eddie Kwizera said.

Committee members are concerned that poaching of wild animals is illegal and involving in this kind of trade can only be through game parks and UWA.

According to UWA latest statistics of 2020/21, 2,310 wildlife crime suspects were arrested with 22,449 different cases of poaching.

"If you have licensed five lodges to sell game meat, who goes there for the game meat and who knows that they are not killing more animals than what they sell?" Kwizera queried.

"We're going to ask him for a list of animals poached and from which parks."

Mwandha dismissed the allegations, saying the Authority is not involved in the sale of game meat and that what is consumed in hotels and other places is imported into the country.

"There are specific hotels with licence from Uganda Wildlife Authority that sale wild meat and it's imported wild meat," Mwandha said.

"They deliver, we inspect, approve before they serve it."

The officials also clarified on impounded wildlife parts under their custody, revealing that close to 20 tonnes of the banned trade items are in the stores.

"There are international conventions in which Uganda is signatory in regard to disposal of wildlife products and when we get them to update our records depending on the amount," Mwandha said.

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