August 25, 2019 

South Sudan NEWS PORTAL (JUBA) – Plans are underway to establish special courts to try suspected poachers of wild animals across the country, the Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut has said.

Chan Reech Madut said the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism proposed the court to curb the killing and the illegal sale of wildlife products.

South Sudan is a member of several initiatives and organizations that combat wildlife and ivory trafficking, including the 2014 Arusha Declaration on Regional Conservation and Combating Wildlife/Environmental Crime, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Elephant Protection Initiative and INTERPOL.

Conflict and insecurity have resulted in a breakdown of some public institutions in South Sudan, threatening wildlife populations and exacerbating illicit trade in bush meat, rare species and ivory.

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Conservation experts say wildlife in the country is depleted by cattle raiders and soldiers on the move as they heavily rely on poaching.

They say there is increasing pressure on wildlife -from poachers and traffickers, and the unregulated developments in the parks and reserves.

The endangered species also include Tiang, elephants, gazelles, zebras, Black and white Rhinos and lions and the African leopard.

A man sells bush meat in an open market
A man sells bush meat in an open market Photo: Eye Radio

Two months ago, the U.S government launched a $7.5 million project to support conservation of wildlife, natural resources and protected areas in South Sudan.

This is after it was noted that local communities are depending on nearby reserves and parks for bush meat and illegal charcoal production.

The funds -managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society will enable the project to build sustainable livelihoods and mitigate conflicts in and around Boma and Badingilo national parks.

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Chief Justice Chan Reech said the establishment of the court will help protect the wildlife and preserve the laws against poaching in the country.

“We are still renovating the space…but once we are done…we are going to designate a court that will be responsible for the wildlife issues,” said Chan Reech, on Thursday, during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed Minister of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, Alfred Akuoch Omoli.

“So as a court, we are prepared to cooperate.”

South Sudan is known to be a home for elephants, a great number of cheetah, ostrich, the Nile crocodile, pangolins, among others, but are at risk of extinction.

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Wildlife migration corridors, protected areas and national parks covered by USAID’s Boma-Jonglei-Equatoria Landscape project contain more than 70 percent of South Sudan’s untapped natural resources, including oil, minerals, gold and coltan. But these areas are also located at the epicenter of deep-rooted tensions, triggering recurrent inter ethnic conflict.

The USAID has supported wildlife conservation in South Sudan through the Wildlife Conservation Society to train park rangers and educate communities on the importance of wildlife protection.

The Boma-Jonglei-Equatoria Landscape project, which runs from 2008 to 2016, has trained more than 21,000 people in South Sudan on the importance of wildlife protection. It has also helped resolve 10 land conflicts in Pochalla, Badingilo and Boma.

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