Tough Penalties Against Wildlife Crimes Approved In New Amendments

Tough Penalties Against Wildlife Crimes Approved In New Amendments

Uganda’s cabinet has approved amendments to the Wildlife Act and made the penalties against wildlife crimes.

“Cabinet already approved the Uganda Wildlife Bill 2015 and, among other things, the law is addressing is the issue of illegal wildlife trade and the penalties that come along with the offenders,” said acting commissioner of conservation in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Dr Akankwasah Barirega

The Bill was approved by the cabinet end of last year, after it is gazzetted by the Ugandan Printing and Publication Corporation it can be tabled before Parliament.

The proposed law spells out a life sentence for a person convicted of wildlife crimes and to address emerging challenges in conservation, including poaching, illicit trans-boundary wildlife trade and increasing human wildlife conflicts.

“If Parliament agrees with what Cabinet has already approved, wildlife criminals will face a maximum sentence of life in prison,” Dr Akankwasah added.

The new legislation also provides for compensation for people affected by stray animals from protected areas.

According to Dr Akankwasah, the biggest sanction or penalty in the current law is seven years of imprisonment.  Judges have the discretion to set the sentence thus sometimes the offenders are not given the maximum sentence but rather asked to pay a small fines or three months in jail and are willing to pay and be released.

The review of the Uganda Wildlife Act 1996, seeks to address emerging challenges in conservation, including poaching, illicit trans-boundary wildlife trade and increasing human wildlife conflicts.

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