By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda-SHIFTMEDIA- Uganda Wildlife Authority has confirmed that a Rhino under its protection died at the Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola. There are currently 33 Rhinos left at the Sanctuary.
The confirmation follows the news this investigative website broke on Thursday, August 4, 2021
We decided to report the story after our sources in the sanctuary intimated to us that something was fishy somewhere. A month plus after the death of Hassani, the Rhino that was shipped in from Disney Animal World in Florida USA, UWA kept silent.
Though the sources said they were worried the precious Rhino horns would have been sold fictitiously, UWA confirmed last night the horns are safe and sound.
Like I said yesterday, a Rhino horn costs between USD$500,000 to $700,000 (Ugx1.8- 2bn).
“Yes, a Rhino died and UWA didn’t announce its death and its horns are kept,” said Bashir Hangi the UWA Communications Manager. “We cannot bury the horn, we keep it,” added Hangi who was first tight-lipped.
Pressed to state why they (UWA) had decided to keep silent about the death waiting for us to break the story, Hangi said: “Animals die in protected areas and we don’t make announcements of such unless the death is attributed to other factors outside those considered normal in the jungle,” said Hangi.
We asked Hangi, whether it was a coincidence that after the death and burial of Hassani, a delegation of Chinese visited the Rhino Sanctuary, and immediately developments of grading of roads commenced.
Hangi said: “Is there anything wrong with the Chinese visiting the Sanctuary?”
But apparently, after we broke the story, UWA sources said a postmortem was being conducted a month after the death of the Rhino. Why do a postmortem now? We asked Hangi. “The postmortem can only be done after an animal has died. You can’t do it on an animal that is alive,” he responded.
Anyway, why they decided to carry a postmortem after we broke the story doesn’t matter, for now, we are interested in the horns.
So where are the horns, sir? We pressed further. Hangi said “Honestly your sources gave you information out of anger and disappointment and as such, that source is feeding false information. We have the two horns.”
Rhino horns are made up of keratine, the same material as human hair and finger nails. They are poached for their horns which are on high demand in Asia. The horns are ground into powder that is used to cure diabetes, cancer, increase sexual virility, among others. A kilogram goes for up to USD$ 100,000 (Ugx 365m)
For now, we shall live it at that, but as we seek legal opinion and forensic audit regarding the horns of the dead Rhino, an expert told us “something isn’t right somewhere. If they have the horns, it should be a fresh horn with blood