A 28-year-old man was today arrested after being found vending baboon meat at Karuma trading centre in Kiryandongo District.
Robert Okello, a resident of Baradugu Village in Diima Parish, Mutunda Sub-county was arrested by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) rangers, according to the Community Conservation Warden for Murchison Falls National Game Park, Mr Wilson Kagoro.
The warden says Okello was arrested at midday after he was found selling roasted baboon meat guising it as antelope meat to his unsuspecting buyers.
Mr Kagoro says Okello will be arraigned before the Kiryandongo Chief Magistrate’s Court tomorrow Friday, September 11, 2020 to answer charges of selling game meat.
“We continue to caution those involved in buying and consuming wild meat to desist from the habit since most of them will fall victims of arrests,” Mr Kagoro cautions.
The warden says this is not the first time UWA authorities have arrested a person selling roasted baboon meat advising consumers to be cautious while buying meat in places adjacent to the game park.
“For them, whatever they come across, they just convert it in terms of money not minding about the consumers. So, it is the responsibility of the buyer to also be very conscious when buying game meat in places close to the conservation area,” he says.
However, Mr Kagoro says UWA is working hard to ensure poaching is dealt with accordingly.
Section 7 (1) of the amended Uganda Wildlife Act 2019 prohibits the sale and consumption of game meat or specimen products.
The highest penalty in the new Act is a minimum fine of Shs20b or life imprisonment, or both for an offence related to a wildlife species classified as extinct in the wild, critically endangered.
Major economic contributor
The tourism sector has remained one of the leading contributors to Uganda’s economy.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda received Sh1.8 million tourists in 2018, up from 1.4 million in 2017.
In 2017, the 1.4 million arrivals injected about US $1.4b into the economy. This contributed to about 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).