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Meet Gladys Kamasanyu, the inspirational Ugandan judge and wildlife crime fighter who has set a new standard for wildlife adjudication in the region. As head of Uganda’s first-ever wildlife court, she has tried over 1,000 cases, convicting more than 600 traffickers, including a man sentenced to life in prison for possessing ivory. Her dedication and hard work have made her court one of the few in Uganda without a backlog.
Kamasanyu’s efforts in fighting wildlife crime have not gone unnoticed. Two years ago, she received an award from the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities for her significant contribution to Conservation in the country. Despite the dangers she faces from sophisticated wildlife criminals, Kamasanyu remains fearless and committed to her work.
Her tenacity and passion for wildlife have sent a strong message to poachers who once used Uganda as a trafficking conduit for wildlife products. Now, they think twice before committing wildlife crimes in the country. Kamasanyu’s dedication to wildlife extends beyond the courtroom – she founded Help African Animals, an organization that trains prosecutors and investigators of wildlife crime and Animal rights.
Raised in southwest Uganda, Kamasanyu has always been surrounded by animals. However, her career trajectory took an unexpected turn when she began studying animal law at the Lewis & Clark law school in Portland, USA. The graphic testimonies of poachers’ cruelty she heard in court ultimately led her to pledge her commitment to fighting for wildlife “as long as I shall live.”
Kamasanyu believes a lack of awareness in society contributes to continuing wildlife crimes. Many still consider animals their property and assume they will always be there. She is frustrated when cases are dismissed due to prosecution errors and law enforcement agencies fail to catch the kingpins behind wildlife crime.
Despite the challenges, Kamasanyu remains optimistic that she can make a difference. She urges people to understand that animals are not property and that their continued existence depends on our efforts to protect them.
Let Kamasanyu’s story inspire us to join the fight for wildlife protection. Please get involved in local Conservation organizations, educate others about preserving our natural world, and Support laws protecting animals from harm. Together, we can make a lasting difference for future generations. So, let’s speak loudly for the animals and take action today!
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