KAMPALA, Uganda -- Ugandan authorities have seized 750 pieces of ivory and thousands of pangolin scales being smuggled from neighboring South Sudan, the revenue agency said Thursday, in one of the largest seizures of wildlife contraband in the East African country.

Two Vietnamese nationals are in custody over the contraband that had been concealed inside pieces of timber carried by three freight containers, the Uganda Revenue Authority said.

The elephant tusks and pangolin scales were likely collected in neighboring Congo, the authority said. The contraband was detected with the aid of a scanner.

The seizure proves Uganda "still is a major transit point for illegal wildlife," Kristof Titeca, a Belgian researcher who recently investigated the role of individual traders in ivory trafficking, said in a Twitter post.

Africa's pangolin species are under increasing pressure from poachers as their scales are used in traditional medicine in some Asian countries.

Africa's elephants are threatened by demand for ivory products in China and other Asian countries.

Uganda's elephant population has been growing in recent years to over 5,000, but the animals still face sporadic poaching, sometimes with the help of corrupt wildlife officials.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.