The Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court yesterday October 20,2022 sentenced one Ochiba Pascal to life imprisonment for unlawful possession of protected species.
Ochiba was arrested on January 18, 2022 in Namuwongo zone, Kampala after being found in possession of two pieces of elephant ivory weighing 9.55 kilograms without a wildlife use right.
While sentencing Ochiba, the Chief Magistrate of the Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court Her worship Gladys Kamasanyu said that offences of unlawful possession of protected species are rampant and there is need to curb them down. She said that Uganda is home to the world’s most known wildlife ranging from iconic mammals like elephants to small ones like pangolins that need to be protected.
She noted that the Ochiba was habitual offender having been charged in 2017 with two counts of unlawful possession of protected species and convicted by the same court. She said that leaving Ochiba in circulation increases the risk of killing of endangered species noting that he deserves a sentence that will contribute to making the world a safer place for wildlife and humans.
On July 4, 2017, Ochiba was arrested from Namuwongo after being found with four pieces of ivory a dry skin of an Okapi without a valid use right and was sentenced to eighteen months in jail for both counts which he served concurrently.
The Executive Director UWA Sam Mwandha has described the sentence as a landmark achievement in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. “We are happy to see the maximum sentence being handed to a wildlife offender. This is a landmark achievement in our war on illegal wildlife trade in Uganda. We must do our best in our times to protect our wildlife otherwise history will judge us harshly”, he said.
About African Elephants
Elephants are protected under appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) as species threatened by extinction due to trade while the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) as critically endangered and the African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) as endangered.
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