A team of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials and the Police have seized 140 African Gray parrots from Wakiso district. This brings the number of parrots seized to 272 in just a fortnight.
Lillian Nsubuga, the UWA spokesperson, said the parrots were rescued from Navina Exports Limited, a holding ground belonging to a wildlife trader at Kawuku, along Entebbe Road.
A joint team of Police, UWA and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) personnel mounted an operation on Saturday, following a tip off that one of the wildlife traders licensed to deal in the export of live species of wildlife was holding parrots with the intention of exporting them to a neighbouring country.
This comes hot on the heels of another case in which over 100 parrots were recovered from suspected traffickers at the Uganda-Congo border two weeks ago.
Muhammad Aslam, a man believed to be of Pakistan origin, surfaced last week at the UWA offices claiming ownership of the flock of the 150 parrots impounded at Mpondwe, on the Uganda-Congo border two weeks ago.
Unlike those recovered from suspected traffickers in western Uganda early last week, those in Kawuku were healthy and played.
Authorities took them to UWEC as investigations into how they got there started. Their place of origin has not been established.
Nsubuga said Navina Exports had permission to hold wildlife. She, however, said they did not have permission to keep parrots.
It is suspected they were destined for a foreign country. Each is sold at over $1,500 on the international market.
“We are going to work closely with them to get to the bottom of this matter,” Nsubuga said yesterday, adding that no one had been arrested.
Johnston Masereka, one of the UWA officials, said the main suspect was on the run.
Asked why they did not impose criminal sanctions against the Pakistan national, Masereka said. “Aslam came to UWA voluntarily and since he had interest in the parrots and we were still holding them, we decided to leave him free.”
Parrots are listed under Appendix 2 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna.
This, according to Achilles Byaruhanga, the director of Nature Uganda, means the birds were threatened and would become endangered if trade and destruction of the tropical high forests was not curtailed.