Uganda will join the rest of the world to commemorate the United Nations World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2020. The main day celebrations will be held in Kisoro district at Saza grounds and President Yoweri Museveni is expected to be the guest of honour.
This was announced by the Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Hon Godfrey Kiwanda at the media launch of World Wildlife Day activities on February 28, 2020, at the Uganda Media Centre.
The theme for this year will be, “Sustaining Wildlife for the benefit of the present and future generations” This will ensure the peaceful co-existence of people and wildlife.
Honourable Kiwanda also announced that Hon. Jacob Oulanya, the deputy speaker of Parliament will be the chief runner during the Wildlife Marathon on February 23, 2020. The wildlife marathon is one of the activities leading to the main day celebrations.
Other activities that he launched include a conservation conference on February 27 where the Prime Minister is expected to be the guest of honour. Other activities include conservation quizzes for tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools at Uganda Christian University, Mutolere Primary School and Seseme girls respectively.
Honourable Kiwanda appreciated a steady and consistent increase in wildlife numbers in the country, which he attributed to Uganda Wildlife authority’s commitment to conservation and professionalism.
“The elephant population in Uganda has increased from 2000 in 1983 to the current 6000; Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi has also increased from 298 in 1993 to over 459 by 2018. 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. Rhinos have been re-introduced back to Uganda that had gone extinct in the early 1980s to the current population of 28 individuals”, he revealed.
He added that the increase in animal numbers has increased the government’s revenue and provided jobs to Ugandans. Tourism is now the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda, bringing in US$ 1.6 billion 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 also provides 1.173 million jobs in Uganda.
Kenya’s first Attorney General Charles Njonjo was in Mgahinga national park to track gorillas as one of the activities leading to the celebration of his 100th birthday on January 23, 2020.