A Ugandan court sentenced a man to 11 years in jail for killing a mountain gorilla, in a judgment that highlights the government’s crackdown on conservation crimes.
The man was arrested June 4 following the death of Rafiki, as the silverback was known, the Uganda Wildlife Authority said in a statement. He was sentenced for illegal entry into a protected area, killing the primate and a duiker, a type of antelope, it said.
“We are relieved that Rafiki has received justice,” UWA Executive Director Sam Mwandha said in the statement. “This should serve as an example to other people who kill wildlife.”
Mountain gorillas, only found in areas near the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are a rare species that conservationists are keen to protect. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last year signed a tough law that includes life sentences and fines of as much as 20 billion shillings ($5.4 million) for trafficking endangered wildlife species.
Tourism is one of Uganda’s main foreign-exchange earners, having brought in about $1.6 billion in the 12 months through June 2019. The East African nation has several parks with elephants, lions, buffaloes and is a popular destination for bird watchers.