Elephants Shot Dead New Vision (Kampala) April 2, 2003 Gerald Tenywa Kampala POACHERS killed seven elephants last week in Murchison Falls National, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials have said. The executive director, Dr. Arthur Mugisha, yesterday said the poachers took off with all the elephant tusks. Addressing a press conference, Mugisha said UWA was hunting for the poachers. "This is terrible. It is the largest number of elephants shot dead in the last two decades," he said. Mugisha said the carcasses of one young, and six adult jumbo were discovered by a team of UPDF and rangers two days after the killing. He refuted reports that rangers were being given cash rewards for the poachers gunned down in action. He said the rangers killed poachers in self defence. Precautions are taken to shoot the poachers in the legs and arms when they resist arrest. He urged local leaders to persuade poachers to give up the practice. Mugisha said 72 poachers were killed in the last three years. Uganda Says Poachers Massacre Elephants By HENRY WASSWA .c The Associated Press KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) - A gang of ivory poachers killed six adult elephants and one calf in a ``gruesome massacre'' in Queen Elizabeth National Park, the government said Friday. A wildlife conservation group said the poaching incident was the inevitable outcome of a recent U.N. decision allowing some African countries to sell their stockpiles of elephant ivory. After killing the elephants March 25, the poachers used acid to remove their tusks, said Uganda Wildlife Authority spokeswoman Barbara Musoke. ``This was the most gruesome massacre of elephants we have ever seen,'' Musoke said. ``The bullets must have been fired from modern guns, not those from the local poachers. The acid helped them to pull the tusks right from the skulls instead of cutting them half way using cutters.'' It was the first reported case of ivory poaching in Uganda in more than three years, she said. Wildlife experts have warned that a U.N. decision allowing three southern African nations to sell more than 60 tons of stockpiled elephant ivory would increase poaching throughout the continent. The U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species voted in November to allow Botswana, Namibia and South Africa to sell stockpiles of elephant tusks worth $5 million. The stockpiles came from animals culled by the nations to keep the population under control and from animals dying of natural causes. The nations argue that funds derived from those sales can be reinvested in wildlife conservation. The International Fund for Animal Welfare said Friday that any ivory trade ``creates a market for illegally obtained ivory and thus facilitates poaching.'' ``An incident such as this in Uganda epitomizes the difficulties wildlife law enforcement authorities such as UWA are confronted with in their endeavors to protect elephants,'' said Jason Bell, the fund's regional director for southern Africa. The 765-square-mile Queen Elizabeth National Park, on Uganda's border with eastern Congo, is home to about 1,000 elephants, more than the elephant population in Uganda's 10 other parks combined, Musoke said. Thousands of elephants in the park were slaughtered during the 1970s by Idi Amin's soldiers and the 1980s by rebel armies. The herds were recovering when fighting resumed in eastern Congo in 1996. Meanwhile, game wardens in neighboring Kenya said Friday they apprehended a poacher involved in killing two giraffes earlier this week. The giraffes were killed Tuesday by poachers from adjacent Tanzania who wanted to sell the meat, said Mabruk Mzee, an assistant warden at the Kenya Wildlife Service. The Kenyan service reports a marked increase in the poaching of large animals like giraffe, buffalo, zebra, eland and gazelle for sale to local butcher shops. Uganda and Kenya have outlawed big-game hunting, while Tanzania allows restricted hunting for a hefty fee. 04/04/03 12:34 EST