Driven by international poaching syndicates as well as local bush meat hunters, the illegal killing, trading, and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products keep African species at risk. Learn from Didi Wamukoya, African Wildlife Foundation’s Senior Manager, Wildlife Law Enforcement, why the continent needs watertight investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial processes — coordinated across regions — to adequately protect its wildlife.
When it comes to biodiversity, Uganda is among the world’s most fortunate countries. It claims 10 percent of the world’s bird species (more than 1,000) and more than 340 species of mammals, including the elephant and the endangered mountain gorilla. Though poaching and bushmeat hunting are controlled in national parks and reserves, species loss persists in the acres of community land outside protected areas, as more people settle close to these biodiversity-rich regions.
The tides are turning in the war against the ivory trade. In the past several months, China, Hong Kong, and the U.K. have all implemented or announced bans on domestic ivory trade — long overdue measures to help stop the slaughter of elephants.
As the largest of all land mammals, African elephants play an important role in balancing natural ecosystems. They trample forests and dense grasslands, making room for smaller species to co-exist. Elephants also create water holes used by other wildlife as they dig dry riverbeds when rainfall is low. Herds travel over vast rangelands, and they disperse seeds in their dung, which helps generate new green growth.
The shutdown of ivory sales on Rakuten-Ichiba, one of Japan’s largest e-commerce platforms, in August 2017 blazed a trail for other online shopping sites selling and auctioning ivory. Some mall retailers even revised their policies to close shops trading ivory, but few online shopping sites have taken the same path as Rakuten — most notably Yahoo! Japan.