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World Environment Day 5th June.
On 5th June, Uganda joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Environment day.  This year’s theme "Go Wild for Life” focuses on the illegal trade of wildlife and highlights the need for everyone to take action against this illegal trade. This year’s campaign is giving special attention to eight species in particular: orangutans, sea turtles, pangolins, rosewoods, helmeted hornbills, tigers, elephants and rhinos. 

World over, illegal trade in wildlife is on the increase to unprecedented levels. More elephants are being killed for ivory, rhinos for horns and pangolins for scales. The United Nations Development Program estimates that more than 100,000 African elephants were killed between 2010 and 2012, out of a population estimated at less than 500,000.  

Various countries have made strong commitments to combat wildlife crime. The Government of Kenya recently burnt ivory from elephants and rhinos that either died or were killed, worth more than $300 million to symbolize that ivory has no value unless it is on an elephant. The United States and China, two of largest ivory markets in the world, have closed their international and domestic trade in elephant ivory. 

Civil society actors like Greenwatch have been at the forefront in the fight against illicit wildlife trade in Uganda. Various strategies have been used in the campaign against this trade including litigation (Greenwatch vs. Uganda Wildlife Authority, Civil Suit No. 27 of 2015  where Greenwatch sought a permanent injunction restraining UWA from endangering pangolins and cancellation of licenses issued to export pangolin scales) and public awareness campaigns on social media (#Savethepangolin, protect our elephants- https://www.facebook.com/Protect-Our-Elephants-1536426833268727/?fref=ts ). 

More concerted effort is still needed from both Government institutions, civil society actors and the public to combat illegal wildlife trade. 

Posted 6th, June 2016
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