Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UK aid helps stop 750 pieces of illegal ivory being smuggled from South Sudan into Uganda
Scanners funded by UK aid have helped the Ugandan Revenue Authority make one of the largest seizures of wildlife contraband the country has ever seen.
Thanks to scanners funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Ugandan Revenue Authority has made one of the largest seizures of wildlife contraband the country has ever seen.
Customs officers in the Northern Ugandan town of Elegu, on the border with South Sudan, seized an estimated 750 pieces of ivory and thousands of pangolin scales, which have a street value of more than £6 million. This enabled a security operation culminating in the arrest of two suspected Vietnamese smugglers.
The scanners – funded through UK aid and Trade Mark East Africa – uncovered three containers holding the illegal wildlife goods, which the Ugandan Tax Authority estimates killed at least 325 elephants, and thousands of pangolins.
The technology, known as ‘mobile non-intrusive inspection scanners’, were able to show how logs had been hollowed out and filled with the illegal wildlife goods. The smugglers poured wax inside to make the logs appear hollow and resealed them.
The scanners act like x-rays and mean that customs officers don’t physically have to open up vehicles to search inside. Aside from tackling the illegal wildlife trade they can also help stop other illicit items from crossing borders.
Harriett Baldwin, Minister of State for Africa yesterday said:
“This seizure is another example of how UK aid is helping countries to crack down on the illegal ivory trade.”
“Wildlife crime robs communities of their natural resources and livelihoods while deepening poverty and inequality. The UK Government will continue working with our African partners to tackle the underlying issues driving this trade.”
Elephants are one of the most poached mammals for their tusks, but Pangolins (Olugave) are even more sort after for their scales which hold medicinal value in parts of Asia.
The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) presents a persistent problem across Africa with an estimated 100,000 pangolins trafficked from Africa to Asia every year and Tanzania losing 60% of its elephants in half a decade. IWT negatively impacts state revenue, economies, and local communities with more than £70bn per year lost due to crimes affecting natural resources. It is one of the most lucrative forms of trafficking along with drugs and weapons.
By working with affected governments wildlife can be used as an engine for tourism, job creation and sustainable development. DFID is helping to tackle the underlying issues driving the trade. Last October we announced £6 million to protect iconic and endangered species including rhinos, elephants and pangolins. We are also are introducing innovative new farming techniques and climate-smart crops which provide far more yield – providing sustainable, more lucrative alternatives to poaching.
General media queries
Telephone 020 7023 0600
Follow the DFID Media office on Twitter – @DFID_Press
Latest News from
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Preventing the heinous use of chemical weapons by Non-State Actors20/03/2019 14:10:00
Statement given yesterday by Stephen Hickey, UK Political Coordinator at the UN, at the Security Council Briefing on the 1540 Committee (Non-proliferation)
Supporting Victims of Human Rights Abuses in DRC19/03/2019 13:25:00
Statement given yesterday by David Clay, UK Deputy Political Coordinator at the UN, at the Security Council Open Briefing on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Foreign Secretary Statement on the fifth anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea19/03/2019 10:25:00
Five years ago, Russia illegally annexed the peninsula of Crimea in a blatant land grab from Ukraine.
Statement by the governments of France, Germany, UK and US on the 8th anniversary of the Syrian conflict18/03/2019 16:43:00
The government envoys to Syria of France, Germany, UK and US recently (15 March 2019) released a statement on the 8th anniversary of the Syrian conflict.
Inclusive Political Participation in Afghanistan18/03/2019 16:08:00
Explanation of Vote by Stephen Hickey, UK Political Coordinator at the UN recently (15 March 2019), following adoption of UNAMA Mandate Renewal.
Foreign Secretary statement on international sanctions in response to Russian aggression in the Black Sea18/03/2019 15:25:00
The Foreign Secretary welcomes action taken by the EU, Australia, Canada and the US.
Conclusion of the UK’s Chairmanship of the Community of Democracies18/03/2019 14:10:00
As of 15 March 2019, the UK’s 6 month Chairmanship of the Executive Committee has concluded.
Minister for Asia highlights southeast Asia opportunities at OECD18/03/2019 12:25:00
At the OECD meeting recently (15 March 2019), Rt Hon Mark Field MP discussed with partners how the organisation could strengthen its work in southeast Asia.