Leopards in Uganda Need Protection from Illegal Poaching

Created: 2013-05-24 16:02 EST

Category: Life

Animal protection groups in Uganda have become increasingly worried about the growth of illegal poaching of leopards recently.

Two leopards were killed by poachers within one month, which is an usual phenomenon, said Uganda Wildlife Education Center.

Henry Kayondo, a breeder at Uganda Wildlife Education Center, found the second dead leopard.

He said that leopard had been trapped for three days when he found it and they have never successfully rescued a leopard from that situation.

[Henry Kayondo, Uganda Wildlife Education Center]:(male english)

"If you delay to rescue it immediately, then it will die of capture. Sometimes, they die of anemia, they bleed until there's no more blood to function their bodies, so they die."

Instead of living together in packs, leopards always prefer to live alone.

They are good at camouflage so they are not easily spotted by tourists.

[Belinda Atim, Professor Uganda Wildlife Education Center]:(female english)

"Tourists to leave their homeland and travel all these miles, they've come for a reason. They don't see these animals, they don't get the feel and the touch that we have here in Africa. And we're just depleting everything, so something has to be done really with the laws."

There is only one leopard, a four year old from South Africa, living in Uganda Wildlife Education Center.

Not everyone is lucky enough to see him.

Kayondo said they stuff the dead leopards in order to let tourists feel the animal with their own hands.

[Henry Kayondo, Uganda Wildlife Education Center]:(male english)

"As we stuff them, it is a good teaching aid as people see what you're talking about, and the injuries, because when you stuff we show the injury where the animal suffered to death. So the people will get the feeling of sympathy and they will learn how to really protect these animals, especially children."

Leopards are normally poached for their fur. A leopard is worth 100 thousand US dollars on the international black market.

Environmentalists pointed out that the punishment for poachers is not severe enough.

Wildlife protectors estimated that there are about 2,700 leopards living in the wild of Uganda.

They fear that the animal will face a serious threat of extinction if the illegal poaching continues.