Uganda Wildlife Authority Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Seguya, was among the experts who attended and made a presentation at the international conference on Mountains and climate change in Lecco, Italy October 23-25th,2013.
His presentation centered on the negative impact of climate change on Rwenzori mountains eco system. The conference was organised and hosted by Ev-K2-CNR committee of Italy.
Dr. Seguya said in his presentation that Climate change in form of increasing temperature; has led to receding glaciers, shifting geographical spread of wildlife (plants and animals). As a result; nature based tourism industry is at a very high risk and water availability for communities and Hydro Electric Power (HEP) generation has reduced.
These famed Mountains of the Moon have lost more than 50 percent of their ice in that time, raising concerns for the area's unique wildlife. He added that Glaciers receded from an area of 1,600 acres (650 hectares) in 1906 to 870 acres (352 hectares) in 1955 to a mere 366 acres (148 hectares) in 2008.The Rwnenzori mountains were in 1994, designated a World Heritage Site, affording it additional protection while in 1997 – 2001 the park was closed due to rebel insurgency (ADF) and UNESCO placed it on the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
The UWA boss said that the mountain was re-opened to tourists in July 2001 and in 2004 – removed from list of sites in danger due to improved security, restoration of its integrity and improved management by UWA.
A General Management Plan was formulated in 2004 to guide its management and infrastructure development, while in 2006 celebration of centenary of scientific expedition by Prince Abruzzi – initiation of collaboration with Italian Embassy/Environmental organizations.
In 2009 it was designated a RAMSAR SITE due to high altitude expansive bogs and cirque lakes, Water catchment supporting livelihood of over 2 million people, Scenic beauty – stratified vegetation and snow clad peaks, Unique biodiversity – Rwenzori leopard, black fronted duikers, Wetlands & glaciers – sources of water, Research potential, Resources for communities and Cultural value – sacred sites and abode of deities.
A ten year management plan was formulated using a participatory approach in 2004 with six programmes to strengthen conservation of the mountain ecosystem and restore integrity of the park. These include resource conservation, community conservation, monitoring and research, tourism development and park operations.