The Observer Kampala
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Police in the western district of Rubirizi have arrested a 38-year-old man with 32 pieces of hippopotamus teeth. The teeth weigh 15 kilogrammes.

Hussein Seka, 38, a businessman from Kasese town, was arrested on a tipoff from the Natural Resource Conservation Network, a non-government organization which protects endangered animal species. He is currently detained at Rubirizi police station.

Seka, believed to be a dealer in animal body parts, faces a charge of possessing protected animal species contrary to Section 75 of the Uganda Wildlife Authority Act.

He claims he got the hippopotamus teeth from the Democratic of Congo-Uganda border. Robinah Birungi, the officer in charge of the criminal investigations in Rubirizi district, said in a telephone interview on Monday that the suspect was arrested in Katunguru town as he attempted to transport the teeth to Rubirizi where he said, a businessman was waiting for the animal cargo.

Julius Odeke, the head of media relations at the Natural Resource Conservation Network – NRCN, said cases of animal product trafficking have increased of late.

A hippopotamus is a highly-aggressive and unpredictable animal, ranked among the most endangered animals in Africa due to the threat posed to them by habitat loss and poaching for their meat and teeth.

Like elephants tusks, hippopotamus teeth, which can reach a length of three feet (1 metre), are used in the making of high- value ivory products.


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