The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has partnered with local lodges, operators (Friends of Queen Elizabeth National Park) and the USAID-STAR program to promote an innovative new traveler experience, The Hippo Census, which took place in February and March. The idea originated with QENP park wardens who suggested a program where visitors can be involved in real conservation efforts by helping count hippo populations alongside the rangers and research/monitoring wardens. 28 seats were available and all the fees collected directly supported the hippo census activity.
In other places this activity is called “citizen science”, but in QENP they refer to it as “experiential tourism”. These activities give visitors a behind the scenes look at how research is helping conserve biodiversity and monitor ecosystem health in QENP.
Video is courtesy of Jennier Krauser, a destination development and community tourism specialist working with the USAID-STAR program in Uganda.
The UWA asked USAID-STAR to help their team develop a product around the Hippo Census and a marketing strategy that UWA could use as a guide for this and future Hippo Census’, as well as other experiential tourism activities like lion and mongoose tracking. UWA and USAID-STAR also developed a short film that generated further interest about the activity.
The African Elephant has two confirmed species the Bush elephant Loxodonta africana and the Forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis, both of which exist in Uganda. The forest elephant is mainly found in Kibale National Park.
The elephant is the largest terrestrial mammal on earth. Elephants exhibit complex intelligence, social behaviour, and play a key role in the wild ecosystems. Despite their important roles in maintaining ecological balances and the flow of tourism income to the range states, the African elephant remains one of the top most species faced with high risk of extinction.
As part of UWA rescue program, USAID STAR through USFS International Program is donating mountain rescue equipment to UWA. UWA will offer this equipment to Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS), a nongovernmental organization entrusted with a concession to provide trekking tourism services/support on the central circuit trail within the Rwenzori Mountains.
This equipment will be used to help support and integrate the Rwenzori Former Hunters in mountain rescue activities hence supporting community participation in wildlife conservation initiatives.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Executive Director Sam Mwandha together with some members of UWA’s top management on July, 15, 2020 hosted five Ambassadors from the European Union (EU) lead by H.E. Attilio Pacifici the Head of EU Delegation in Uganda. Executive Director Sam Mwandha thanked the European Union (EU) for the continued support extended to the institution over the years that has seen many infrastructural development and stuff trainings supported to address conservation of wildlife challenges in the organisation. He informed the EU that UWA like many other agencies of government is grappling with insufficient resources to finance its operations as a result of COVID 19 pandemic that has hit all global economies.
Mwandha emphasized that the few resources the organisation can afford have been prioritised to deal with areas such as human wildlife conflict, invasive species and electric fencing in Queen Elizabeth that will continue on a scaled down rate. “The population increase of the people has unfortunately led to the clearance of habitats outside the national parks and wildlife reserves that used to harbour additional wildlife and yet population numbers of animals are on the rise,” the ED emphasized.
On behalf of EU, H.E Attilio Pacifici reaffirmed EU’s commitment to support wildlife development in the country and argued UWA to continue doing the great work it has always done despite the current crisis of Corona virus hitting the agency and economy. Other member States of the EU acknowledged the positive strides undertaken by the institution to manage wildlife in Uganda and argued it to diversify more on the tourism products to keep visitors flocking the country with more revenue collection for sustainability. The Union agreed to engage more on areas that help revamp the sector and ensure that normal operations are restored in the post COVID-19 era.
In the discussions, members acknowledged that Uganda was well endowed uniquely and there is need to have deliberate efforts to protect this national heritage and safe guard the unique treasures COVID 19 notwithstanding. The delegation thanked UWA for the strong collaboration with communities and emphasized that conservation cannot be done in isolation but with the host communities of the protected areas that need to understand and feel its benefits.
Other issues discussed included tourism promotion and what the EU and Individual countries can do to help in promoting Uganda in Europe. The need to open the airport and make it a requirement for visitors to undergo COVID-19 test in their countries and having a rapid testing of visitors on arrival in Uganda was highlighted as key to revamping tourism. They called upon Uganda to brand the country as a safe destination given the zero COVID-19 deaths and recovery rate that would add value to marketing the destination in the post COVID era.
As travel writer Brian Jackman once said, “everything in Africa bites, but the safari bug is worst of all”. You! Just like me will admit that each safari inspires the next one, for no two adventures in the African bush are the same.
Going by the above, it’s true the safari bug has now caught up with many Ugandans including Ruparelia Group Chairman, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia who prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, took on a gorilla tour to Bwindi Forest, and more recently, a family tour to Kidepo Valley National park, in north eastern Uganda.
The property mogul, who also doubles as the Nepalese Honorary Consul to Uganda, is now on another tour to Queen Elizabeth National park (QENP) in western Uganda. This particular tour is nostalgic as it carries with it memories from the past. Within Queen Elizabeth National park is Kabatoro, an area where the Ruparelia Group chairman was born.
Full story follow the link From Bwindi Forest to Kidepo Valley: Sudhir Ruparelia now takes on a tour to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda Wildlife Authority is saddened to announce the death of six lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The carcasses of the lions were found last evening at Ishasha sector with most of their body parts missing. Eight dead vultures were also found at the scene which points to possible poisoning of the lions by unknown people.
A team of investigators is on the ground and collaborating with police in Kanungu district in handling this matter. Given that some of the body parts of the lions are missing, we cannot rule out illegal wildlife trafficking.
UWA strongly condemns the illegal killing of wildlife because it does not only impact negatively on our tourism as a country, but also revenue generation which supports conservation and community work in our protected areas.
Tourism has been a top foreign exchange earner to the country contributing almost 10% of GDP and 23% of the total foreign exports. Nature tourism has been contributing USD 1.6 billion to the economy and also contributes to the wellbeing of communities surrounding the wildlife protected areas.
Tourism revenue plays a critical role in improving the livelihoods of communities around the national parks. UWA give back 20% of gate entry fees to the communities neighbouring through the revenue sharing scheme. In the last five years, a total of UGX 4,457,283,992 was shared with communities neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park to enhance their livelihoods. The revenue sharing scheme is meant to strengthen partnerships between local communities, local governments and management of wildlife areas leading to the sustainable management of wildlife resources in protected areas.
Uganda Wildlife Authority assures the public that it shall continue to strengthen the protection of lions and other wildlife in Uganda and will pursue this matter to its logical conclusion. Our national parks remain safe and attractive to visitors and we still have lions in Queen Elizabeth and other parks.
Bashir Hangi, Communications Manager
Tel: 0414 355 315, 0772 446 115
Four people have been arrested in connection with the death of six lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Ampurira Brian 26 years, Tumuhire Vincent 49 years, Aliyo Robert 40 years and Miliango David 68 years were arrested last night during a joint operation mounted by UWA, UPDF and Police in Kyenyabutongo village, Rusoroza Parish, Kihihi Sub County, Kanungu District.
Today at daybreak, the suspects took the security team to a location where 3 heads of lions were found hidden in a tree and the fourth one was buried with 15 legs under the same tree. The suspects said they dropped one leg in the park.
Three bottles containing a chemical commonly known as Furadan and a two-litre jerrycan of lion fat oil were recovered in a banana plantation. Two spears, one panga and one hunting net were found hidden in a garden at the home of Tumuhire Vincent.
The carcases of the lions were discovered at Ishasha sector on the evening of Friday, March 19, 2021. Nine dead vulture; one White-headed vulture and eight White-backed vultures which are listed as critically endangered species were also found in the same place. Upon their discovery, we launched investigations into the matter. On Monday evening we received credible information about the people suspected to be behind the killing of the lions and acting on the same, a joint operation by UPDF, Police and UWA was conducted leading to the arrest of the four suspects. The suspects will be arraigned in the courts of law.
We applaud the security agencies that joined the operation to hunt the people behind the death of our lions and the leadership of Kanungu district for the support extended to the security teams.
We assure the public that we shall continue to strengthen the protection of lions and other wildlife in Uganda and will pursue this case until justice for the dead lions is served. Our national parks remain safe and attractive to visitors and we still have lions in Queen Elizabeth and other parks.