By Watchdog reporter

Police and officials from Natural Resource Conservation Network on Sunday arrested a man believed to be a dealer in animal body parts.

Seka Hussein, 38, a businessman from Kasese town is currently being detained at Rubirizi Police Station on charges of being engaged in illegal wildlife trade. The man was found while in possession of 32 pieces of hippopotamus teeth that weighed 15 kilograms of protected animal species contrary to Section 75 of the Uganda Wildlife Authority Act.

Ms Robinah Birungi, the Rubirizi Police CID commander said the suspect was arrested in Katunguru town in Katunguru district as he was transporting the trophies to Rubirizi where he said, there was a businessman waiting for the contraband business.

“The suspect is a businessman in Kasese District. He claims to have got the hippopotamus teeth from the Democratic of Congo-Uganda border and that he act as a middleman. We are through with our investigations and we are going to take him to court,” Ms Birungi said on Sunday.

Mr Julius Odeke the Head of Media Relations with NRCN says cases of animal trafficking have of recent increased when compared to the past. He says, “It is government top officials who have the money who are behind the illicit trade but they tend to use the poor people to transact the illegal animal trade on their behalf.”

Mr Odeke says there is need to sensitise the general public on the dangers of engaging in this kind of trade that is against the laws of the country and also the need to conserve wildlife which he says attracts many tourists to our country.

Traditionally, poaching is the illegal hunting and killing or capturing of wild animals in violation of the laws of the country. It is different from hunting as hunting refers to harvesting of wildlife within the law. While wildlife trafficking is the illegal trade in wildlife (dead or alive) and wildlife products.