National, News

PUNCH: Gov’t impounds 35 bags of bush meat

By Kei Emmanuel Duku

 

Ministry of Wildlife Service, Tourism, and Conservation (MWTC) has arrested seven suspects, including drivers and conductors from two buses, for allegedly transporting illegal bush meat.

The arrests were made on May 10th, 2024, along the Juba-Bor Highway.

The suspects are currently being detained at Gumbo Sherikat Police Station pending an investigation.

A total of 32 bags of bush meat, estimated to be from 110 animals, were seized from the Eco Bus Company and Juba Bor Bus, which belong to the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs.

Peter Loro Alberto, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Wildlife Service, blamed the rise in poaching on a lack of public awareness about wildlife conservation and a worsening economic situation.

“People have resorted to poaching to sell the meat and make ends meet,” he said.

In a separate incident, authorities at Juba International Airport also arrested a South Sudanese-Australian woman attempting to smuggle six elephant tusks to Australia from Rumbek.

Colonel John Chol Adui, Operations Commander of the South Sudan Wildlife Service (SSWS), expressed concern about the alarming rate of wild animal poaching.

He stated that 28 wildlife trafficking cases have been registered so far in 2024, involving vehicles and motorcycles.

Bandingilo, Jebel Boma, and other national parks and game reserves are the most affected areas. Poachers typically use guns and traditional weapons to kill wild animals, according to wildlife authorities.

Col. Chol also disclosed the seizure of a car filled with bush meat from Jonglei State earlier in May.

He explained that while some animals are hunted for food, others, like leopards (hides used in dances) and elephants (tusks trafficked to Asia), are targeted for specific purposes.

The South Sudan Wildlife Service Act of 2003 prohibits hunting in protected areas and transporting wild animals. Violators, when caught, face up to five years in prison.

Col. Chol announced a nationwide crackdown on wildlife products, starting in Juba on May 20th. This includes locally-made items like rings and walking sticks made from elephant tusks.

South Sudan has about six national parks, including Bandingilo, Boma, Nimule, Southern, and Shambe. These parks are home to large herds of elephants, giraffes, lions, and many other wildlife species.

 

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