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More than 20 Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) game rangers were equipped with skills to counter Illicit trafficking of animals during the Junior Leader Course at Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The four weeks course was facilitated by U.SA Civil Affairs Battalion and Joint Task Force in the Horn of Africa. The four weeks extensive training course comprised both classroom and practical exercises aimed at enhancing UWA capabilities to protect wildlife sources by developing self-sufficient leaders.

The 24 game rangers who graduated Friday were trained in weapons handling, field medical care, land navigation, human rights, leadership, crime scene investigations, law enforcement tactics, patrolling, ethics, and values.

The top students in this course will serve as instructors in future training programs, leading to a sustainable leader training program managed by UWA. They have been assigned to seven different national parks in Uganda that include: Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, Kidepo Valley Conservation Area, Lake Mburo National Park, Kabale National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Semuliki National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and the Kigezi Wildlife Reserve.

Illegal wildlife trade is one of the urgent global issue, which not only threatens some of the world’s most iconic species with extinction and damages sustainable economic growth and livelihoods of vulnerable people in rural communities.

This kind of trade worldwide is worth £17 billion per year and is the fourth most lucrative transnational crime after drugs, weapons and human trafficking. The criminals who run this trade do more than damage wildlife they use networks of corrupt officials and agencies to undermine sustainable development and the rule of law, damaging the livelihood and growth of local communities.