Working to Protect Uganda’s Wildlife
With the help of a CALS Global Ambassador grant, Gladys Kamasanyu (‘LLM, 20) recently compiled and published a Compendium of Wildlife Laws in Uganda.
Around the globe, CALS alumni are working to develop the field of animal law, with a common goal of advancing legal protections for animals. In countries where animal law is still nascent, one of the key tasks is to create awareness around animal protection laws that do exist.
In Uganda, Gladys Kamasanyu (LLM ’20) recently completed a CALS Global Ambassador Project. Gladys compiled and published a Compendium of Wildlife Laws in Uganda. She hopes that by compiling all relevant legislation in one easy to reference text, she will increase the general public’s access to wildlife law. She says: “Knowledge of the law can save wildlife that may otherwise be killed due to ignorance. By creating this important resource, my goal is to raise awareness regarding laws that protect wild animals and reduce wildlife crime. Thank you to the Center for Animal Law Studies for supporting this work.”
Gladys’ work is gaining wide recognition. She is the head of Africa’s first and only specialized wildlife court, the Uganda Wildlife Court located in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. As Chief Magistrate, Gladys has adjudicated many high-profile wildlife cases involving illicit wildlife products like elephant ivory, pangolin scales, live pangolins, rhino horns and hippopotamus teeth. She was recently featured in a Ugandan publication, New Vision Magazine, for her work on combating wildlife crime. The article notes that “The wildlife court, which is presided over by Her Worship Gladys Kamsanyu, has become an arena that holds poachers and traffickers accountable for their crimes.” Regarding Gladys’ extensive educational credentials, including her Animal Law LLM, the article notes “No doubt, she has used the knowledge she acquired to build more capacity for and awareness of animal-related issues in Uganda. She also influences policies that afford better protections to animals in Uganda.”
Gladys is the founder of Help African Animals, a nonprofit organization that she started during her studies with us, under the mentorship of Professor Russ Mead, CALS’ Shared Earth Foundation Visiting Professor. Help African Animals protects animals through the legal system by raising awareness and building capacity about wildlife crime and other crimes against animals, their nature and effect, the laws protecting animals and penalties for violation of the laws.
To launch the compendium, Help African Animals conducted a seminar whereby stakeholders were invited and sensitized about the laws protecting wildlife in Uganda. At the end of the meeting, Gladys and her team distributed copies of the compendium to the attendees, which included police officers, prosecutors, students and members of the general public. In late January, she met with and educated over 100 criminal investigative officers about laws protecting wildlife in Uganda. By sharing knowledge of existing laws, Gladys hopes to “enable officers to manage wildlife cases better which will translate into better court case result
Indeed, increasing access to laws concerning animals is an important step towards creating awareness around wildlife crime. CALS is proud to be supporting projects that enhance animal law education around the world. Stay tuned for an announcement soon regarding the next round of applications for the Global Ambassador Program!
The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) was founded in 2008 with a mission to educate the next generation of animal law advocates and advance animal protection through the law. With vision and bold risk-taking, CALS has since developed into a world-renowned animal law epicenter. CALS’ Alumni-in-Action from over 20 countries are making a difference for animals around the world. CALS is a nonprofit organization funded through donations and grants.