Uganda suspends officials after ton of ivory stolen from vault

November 18, 2014
More than 35,000 elephants are killed across Africa every year for their tusks

Uganda's wildlife authority has suspended five top officials after a ton of seized ivory worth over a million dollars vanished from government strongrooms, its chief said Tuesday.

Interpol has been called in to aid in investigating the incident, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) chief Raymond Engena told AFP, following calls from the president to catch the culprits.

"We have suspended five to allow investigations into how the went missing," Engena said.

They include the government-run UWA's chief ranger, those who had access to the strong room, as well as intelligence officers in the agency.

"We are cooperating with the police to establish the people behind this crime, and we have also involved Interpol in the investigations," Engena said. "The people behind this will be found and dealt with decisively."

The UWA said a routine check had found that 1,335 kilogrammes (2,943 pounds) of ivory had vanished from supposedly secure stockpiles, which officials estimated to be valued at some 1.1 million dollars (880,000 euros).

Staff are feared to have been working with the very traffickers they are meant to stop to steal and sell on the confiscated tusks.

Some corrupt officials are believed to have taken the ivory claiming to use it to ensnare potential traffickers, but then later selling it themselves.

Poaching has risen sharply across Africa in recent years fuelled by rising demand in Asia for ivory and rhino horn, coveted as a traditional medicine and a status symbol.

Uganda is a key transit country for the .

More than 35,000 elephants are killed across Africa every year for their tusks.

Explore further: Half-tonne of smuggled ivory seized in Saudi

Related Stories

Kenyan officials seize 1.5 tonnes of hidden ivory

July 3, 2013

Officials in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa seized almost one and a half tonnes of ivory hacked out of poached elephants, they said Wednesday, the latest in a series of seizures by Kenyan authorities.

US destroys six-ton ivory stockpile

November 15, 2013

The United States has destroyed six tons of confiscated elephant ivory, in a move wildlife groups hailed as a bold message to criminal traffickers that the ivory is worthless.

Kenya seizes ivory as elephant slaughter surges

October 9, 2013

Kenyan customs officers have seized almost four tonnes of elephant ivory in two separate shipments, officials said Wednesday, amid a surge in poaching of the threatened animals.

Recommended for you

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...

Study finds people who feed birds impact conservation

March 26, 2019

People in many parts of the world feed birds in their backyards, often due to a desire to help wildlife or to connect with nature. In the United States alone, over 57 million households in the feed backyard birds, spending ...

Matter waves and quantum splinters

March 25, 2019

Physicists in the United States, Austria and Brazil have shown that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) can cause them to either divide into uniform segments or shatter into unpredictable splinters, depending ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.