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Uganda takes 750 pieces of ivory, arrested 2 Vietnamese



Kampala, Uganda (Hungary) – Authorities in Uganda seized 750 pieces of ivory and thousands of Pangolin scales that were smuggled from neighboring South Sudan, the Revenue Agency announced in one of the biggest attacks on wildlife smuggling in the East African country.

Two Vietnamese nationals are in custody for the smuggling that was hidden inside the trees carrying three freight containers, Uganda's Revenue Administration said.

Probably gathered elephants from the biscuits and pangolin stairs in the neighboring Congo, an authority said. The counterpart was detected using a scanner.

Seizure proves that Uganda is "still the main transit point for an illegal animal world," says Christophe Tytaka, a Belgian researcher who has recently examined the role of individual merchants in ivory trade.

African pangolin species are under increasing pressure from poachers because their scales are used in traditional medicine in some Asian countries.

African elephants are endangered by demand for ivory products in China and other Asian countries. Africa had 1.3 million elephants in the 1970s, but there are fewer than 500,000 today.

Uganda's elephant population has grown to over 5,000 in recent years, but animals are still facing sporadic hunting, sometimes with the help of corrupt wildlife.

Experts warn that the elephant population may decline if ivory trade is not interrupted.

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