Uganda: Security Agencies Hunt Parrot Thieves

SECURITY agencies have mounted a search for suspected Kasuku (parrot) smugglers who recently escaped at the Uganda/D.R Congo customs post.

The alleged culprits had packed the birds in sealed, but perforated boxes said to be containing motorcycle spare parts.

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) operatives discovered the birds as they checked three boxes on one of the vehicles used by the suspects.

Some of the documents accompanying the parrots showed that 276 African grey parrots had been cleared by Congolese customs to enter Uganda, but without any clearance from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

URA officials got suspicious after failing to find documents clearing the parrots from UWA.

On being quizzed further, the suspects left the customs offices to go pick the UWA documents from another vehicle parked outside.

The suspects, however, escaped, leaving the three boxes.

Joseph Kirabo, Kasese criminal investigations chief, said security agencies, including the Police, are hunting for the suspects.

Charles Tumwesigye, Queen Elizabeth conservation area manager, said UWA rushed the parrots to the Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe.

He also said six of the birds died on arrival at Entebbe.

Parrots are often domesticated as pets, because of their high capacity to understand, communicate and deliver messages.

Achilles Byaruhanga, nature Uganda executive director, said there are only about five species of parrots in Uganda.

He also warned that parrots could be wiped out if stringent measures are not adopted and implemented to curtail their trade especially in the region.

Last week another consignment of parrots was rescued from the Uganda-D.R Congo border.

http://www.newvision.co.ug