WCS and Uganda Wildlife Authority collaborate on online tool
NEW YORK (Dateline) –The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) have collaborated to produce an online tool that will allow law enforcement officials to access a database to track offenders of wildlife crime in real-time and across the country.
The database, which can be updated online at all Uganda parks and headquarters,will enable better monitoring of arrests, identify repeat offenders and their associates,and allow park managers to better track prosecutions accordingly, while enabling the export of data for further analyses.
In addition, the database allows UWA staff to assess which wildlife crimes are on the increase in the country by providing summary statistics by park and also to profile those involved in wildlife crime in the country. The results will be used to identify where and when people areundertaking illegal activities and who is involved.
“This new online system will allow Uganda Wildlife Authority park managers andenforcement staff to better track offenders of wildlife crimes,” said Dr AndrewPlumptre, the Director of WCS’s Albertine Rift Program and Uganda CountryDirector. “In the past, repeat offenders of wildlife crimes were often prosecutedas first-time criminals and given lesser sentences because this information wasnot readily accessed.”
WCS is currently training UWA staff on how to use the new system, which is expectedto officially launch in February 2014. WCS is currentlylooking for funding to expand the capabilities of the system to includescanning finger-prints of individuals so that their history can be more readilyaccessed.
Wildlife crime is on the increase across Africa, particularly the poaching of elephants for Ivory. While poaching ofelephants has not been very high in Uganda, it was recently included in the“Gang of eight” by CITES as a country that is not managing to address the ivory trafficking through the country. This database was created as a partial response to this need to better tackle wildlife crime across the country. WCS plans on making the database software available to park managers in otherAfrican nations and there is already interest from some countries.
“The wildlife crime offender’s database will help us to secure higher penalties in court for notorious offenders”, said Charles Tumwesigye, Deputy Director for Conservation in UWA,“as we will be able to prove that some offenders have committed crimes morethan once”.
The database was developed with the financialsupport of the MacArthur Foundation and had technical inputs from MaishaConsulting Ltd. It was designed and programmed by Jan Kirstein of JayKsoft, a Ugandan based company.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wildplaces worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS,based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS;http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.