By our reporter
Police in Namalu is holding three suspects over illicit wildlife trade trophies. The trio, residents of Namalu district, Karamoja region were arrested venturing into a business without a wildlife users right license as stated in the wildlife Act.
The suspects identified as Limkol Tekla, Nyangan Richard and Alakas Richard all in their thirties are accused of possessing protected wildlife trophies contrary to section 75b and 30 of the Wildlife Act.
In an interaction with Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN), Tekla revealed that were having 10kgs of pangolin scales which they were selling at sh300,000 per kilogram and sh5million for the live giant pangolin which they have been keeping for the last one year.
Tekla adds that the trio has been in this business for the last three years however much they knew that it was against the laws of Uganda.
The notorious traffickers are now in the police cells and going to be charged with two counts of which are; illegal possession of wildlife species contrary to section 75(b) and 30of the wildlife Act and conspiracy to commit a felony and will produced to court for plea as soon as investigations are done, said NRCN court prosecutor Mr. Adupa Alex. It should be noted that, pangolin species are mostly concentrated in the northern and north eastern Uganda. The giant pangolin is the largest of all pangolin species. While its average mass has not been measured, one specimen was found to weigh 33 kg (72.6 lb). Males are larger than females, with male body lengths about 140 cm (4.6 ft) and females about 125 cm (4.1 ft).
Like all pangolins, the species is armored with large, brown to reddish-brown scales formed from keratin. Curiously, it also has eyelashes. The giant pangolin has a long snout, a long, thick tail, and large front claws. The animal has a strong sense of smell and large anal glands. Its secretions may be significant to animal communication. The species walk with most of its weight is on its columnar rear legs, and curls its front paws, walking on the outside of the wrists rather than the palms to protect the claws. By using its tail for balance, it often walks upright as a biped.
Pangolins are eaten, but a greater danger arises from the belief that the scales have medicinal value. Fresh scales are never used, but dried scales are roasted, ashed, cooked in oil, butter, vinegar, boy’s urine, or roasted with earth or oyster-shells, to cure a variety of ills.
Amongst these are excessive nervousness and hysterical crying in children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever and deafness. However their scales are also used in making expensive jewelry thus making the scales on high demand.
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