News

WORLD WILDLIFE DAY 2020


Uganda will join the rest of the world to celebrate United Nations World Wildlife Day on the 3rd March 2020 at ssaza grounds in Kisoro Municipality, Kisoro District in Kigezi region. This is a great day for Uganda, a country dedicated to protect and conserve wildlife for the benefit of the present and future generations

On 20th December 2013, the Sixty eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3rd March of every year as World Wildlife Day to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the several benefits that conservation provides to humanity.

A COUNTRY GIFTED BY NATURE:THE PEARL OF AFRICA

Uganda boasts of a rich and diverse wildlife heritage owing to its uniquelocation at the zone of overlap between the savannah of East Africa and the rainforests of West Africa. The country is distinctly blessed with spectacular landscapes of unrivalled beauty ranging from the great rift valleys to lake basins, crater lakes rolling plains, tropical forests, vast savannahs to permanently snowcapped Rwenzori mountains. The numerous landforms and habitats support rich and varied wildlife species and communities.

With a recorded 18,783 species of flora and fauna, Uganda ranks among the top most biodiversity rich countries globally. Uganda is a host to over 50% of the world’s remaining population of Mountain gorillas, 11% of the world’s recorded species of birds (which is 50% of Africa’s bird species richness), 8% of the global mammal diversity (which is 39% of Africa’s mammal richness), 19% of Africa’s Amphibian species richness, 14% of Africa’s reptile species richness and 1,249 recorded species of butterflies. The rich wildlife endowment is the number one competitive edge to develop Uganda into a top tourism destination in Africa.

Uganda’s rich wildlife biodiversity has been conserved through a robust policy and legal framework ushered in by the NRM Government in 1986 including through establishment of a network of wildlife Protected Areas covering about 10% of the country’s total land surface. These include 10 National Parks, 12 Wildlife Reserves, 10 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 5 Community Wildlife Areas.

ANIMAL POPULATION INCREASING

Due to enhanced integrity of the Protected Areas, arising from political stability and associated sustainable security, there has been general increase in wildlife populations. For instance, the elephant population has increased from only 2000 in 1983 to the current 6000; Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi alone have increased from only 298 in 1993 to over 459 by 2018 (50 groups out of 91 global groups); Buffalos have increased from 25,000 in 1982 to now 37,054; Uganda kob has increased from 40,000 in 1982 to 74,702 surpassing the post independence populations of 60,000 kobs. We have been able to successfully reintroduce Rhinos back to Uganda that had gone extinct in early 1980’s. The initial population of 8 has bred and multiplied to the current population of 28 individuals.

TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF TOURISM TO THE ECONOMY

Tourism is now the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda, bringing in US$ 1.6 billion (about 24% of the total exports) annually. With a recorded total of 1.5 million international arrivals, tourism which is largely wildlife-based contributes about 9.0% of GDP annually.The tourism sector provides 1.173 million jobs in Uganda (7.8% of total employment). Uganda Wildlife Authority alone employs over 2,350 staff. We therefore as a country have all reasons to celebrate our wildlife endowment.

The national World Wildlife Day 2020 celebrations will be held at Ssaza grounds, Kisoro District in the Kigezi region under the theme “Sustaining Wildlife for the benefit of the present and future generations”. HE the President of the Republic of Uganda is expected to be the Chief Guest.

The theme of the day is timely and reminds us of the need to ensure peaceful coexistence between wildlife and people for the benefit of present and future generations. Government, working with all our stakeholders has undertaken several initiatives towards realizing harmonious living between wildlife and people including:

  1. Uganda Wildlife Act 2019 enacted and HE the President signed it into law on 1st July 2019. The Act came into force on 27th September 2019. The Wildlife Act 2019 strengthens penalties against wildlife offenders, enhances community participation in wildlife conservation, and provides for compensation for damage to property, injury and loss of life. We are now formulating regulations to fully operationalize the law.

  2. Sharing of Protected Area revenues (20%) with adjacent communities. A total of 15,390,345,544/=) has been shared with communities in the last three years.

  3. Wildlife utilization programme has generated revenue for different stakeholders over the last three years, UWA, US$ 1,195,312; Local Communities US$ 1,639,847 and US$ 259,447