Call for Additional Funding to end human-wildlife conflicts in Uganda

Residents who have decried the unending human-wildlife conflict in and around conservation areas in Uganda, particularly in Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Park, have a reason to rest easy as the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, Hon. Martin Mugarra, has rallied Members of Parliament to push for increased funding for Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

During an oversight visit at Lake Mburo National Park located in Kiruhura District, accompanied by the UWA team, Mugarra addressed MPs on the Committee of Tourism, Trade, and Industry, stating that even though a dam was already constructed in Lake Mburo National Park, it wouldn’t act as an effective deterrence. He highlighted that it was imperative to raise the UWA budget ceiling to increase funding which would enable the fencing of the park, construction of the roads within the parks currently in bad shape, and staff houses including accommodation for local tourists.

According to a study by Makerere University, human–wildlife conflicts were mainly caused by Crop damage and destruction by animals while Human injuries and death followed. Cases of poaching and animals escaping into the communities have been rampant in the Queen Elizabeth National Park and other conservation areas and according to UWA, population pressure, and unclear ownership of some parts of the land gazetted for the park have made the situation dire.

Residents of Kasese who have been especially affected by animals trespassing into the community areas will have a reason to rest easy even as domestic tourism is expected to rise with the expected impact of the gay bill. According to an eyewitness, Kabugho Petwa, a resident of Saluti B cell Nyamwamba division, elephants have trespassed and attacked residents near Kaseese airfield and razed down the fence erected, and also Kasese Municipality Health Centre III where they destroyed all maize gardens in the premises.

Legislators advised UWA to increase its engagements with the community on measures to end
human-wildlife conflict, as they wait on the desired increased funding. The Uganda Wildlife Act 2019, which provides for a wildlife compensation scheme, a compensation fund, and a claims verification committee will receive a boost in the implementation and dissemination by the additional funding proposed by Hon. Martin Mugarra. This will go a long way in resolving human-wildlife conflicts.

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