Kawunde Gyavira, a 34-year-old mechanic, a resident of Katabi Entebbe, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for possession of 61.84 Kgs of ivory. Gyavira, was arrested in December 2019 under case file number CRB/305. The sentence was handed down to him by Chief Magistrate of Utilities Standard and Wildlife Court Ms Ayo Mariam Okello under the new wildlife Act 2019.
The arrest was made following an intelligence tip-off to police that Gyavira together with others still at large were in possession of ivory. UWA’s elite sniffer dog section aided by police detectives through covert operations and trailing the suspect swung inaction that led to his arrest.
The UWA Manager Prosecution Annet Tuhaisomwe revealed that most Ugandans are well sensitized about the implication of being at the wrong side of the law because of the new Wildlife Act 2019 puts in place stringent penalties for any illegal trade of wildlife products. “People are now aware of the consequences of wildlife-related crimes and therefore trade with caution,” she said. “The new Wildlife Act has started to bite and its prosecution success rate has been perfect from September 2019 up to date when we effectively began using it,” she added.
According to the IUCN, the elephant is classified as a vulnerable species as a result of high levels of poaching attributed to illegal trade in ivory and its products. Currently, the larger populations of elephants in Uganda are found in Queen Elizabeth with other herds in protected areas like Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley. The recovery of elephant numbers from only about 2000 in the 1980s to over 5564 currently is largely attributed to the successful conservation efforts implemented by Uganda Wildlife Authority, improved legislation and conservation policies.
In fulfilment of UWA’s core mandate, a number of efforts have been put in place to safeguard wildlife across all protected areas in Uganda. On September 2018, the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni passed out 487 ranger recruits at Paraa Training Wing in Murchison Falls to boost patrol efforts while the recently enacted Wildlife Act 2019 provides tough fines and life sentence at the highest penalty and jail terms for wildlife-related crimes.
The outgoing Archbishop Church of Uganda, His Grace Stanley Ntagali and his wife Beatrice Ntagali on February, 24th 2020 made a courtesy call at UWA head office to bid farewell to the conservation fraternity. They were welcomed by the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority Sam Mwandha. In his remarks, he thanked His Grace Ntagali for coming to interact with staff. He appreciated the approach to life of the Archbishop of service above self.
On behalf of UWA, Mr Mwandha offered free park entry to any park in Uganda to His Grace and wife valid for a year renewal, branded and personalised UWA diaries and calendars. In his remarks, the archbishop welcomed the gift to him by UWA as a perfect retirement package. “Thank you for this great retirement gift and sparing time to welcome us,” the archbishop said. He credited UWA for taking care of wildlife that is God’s creation and attracts tourists. “I want to thank UWA for the great conservation work and doing a wonderful job with God’s creation regarding the environment,” he said.
Ntagali revealed that he was proud of Uganda which is the pearl of Africa. He noted that Uganda was a gift to Ugandans from God that they should take care of. “When we care for wildlife that was made by God, we are serving God,” the Archbishop said. He also applauded UWA for the devotion that occurs every Monday morning, where staff pray to seek God’s guidance throughout the week.
Hundreds of participants turned up for the 5th edition of the Uganda Wildlife Marathon that took place on the 23rd February at the Uganda Museum. This year's marathon was aimed at raising funds to educate children of fallen rangers. This activity held annually is one of the activities that mark the commemoration of the United Nations World Wildlife Day to be held in Kisoro on 3rd March.
The Deputy Speaker of parliament Hon. Jacob Oulanya the chief runner flagged off the various races under categories of 5km, 10km, 21 and 42km. Several participants, including individuals, corporate institutions and schools turned up to run for the conservation cause.
While flagging off the runners, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon. Jacob Oulanya emphasized that the marathon was aimed at creating awareness about wildlife conservation. Flanked by the Ministers of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities; Col. Tom Butime, State minister Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi, UWA and Tourism officials and partners, Oulanyah promised to engage parliament to conserve wildlife. "Our flora and fauna are one of the best in the world and we should do whatever it takes to protect it. Parliament has a task to continue improvement of policies that favour the development of tourism in Uganda." He thanked Ugandans for being very passionate about wildlife and for joining hands to conserve.
The Minister for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Rtd. Col. Tom Butime congratulated participants for taking part in this year's marathon. He noted that the run was for a good cause and thanked individuals and companies for considering taking part in it. "The purpose of this marathon is to engage the nation in raising awareness about the importance of wildlife and generate resources to support the children of UWA servicemen who lost their lives in the line of duty to protect Uganda wildlife. Today we continue to celebrate the lives of these heroes who stake their lives to conserve our wildlife," he said. Col. Butime noted that Uganda is exceptionally endowed with abundance and diversity of wildlife resources. "Wildlife is a fundamental pillar for Uganda tourism development among other several ecological and environmental benefits we get from wildlife," he observed.
The Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority Sam Mwandha re-echoed the importance of the run as being critical in awareness creation of wildlife conservation and its protection by all stakeholders on top of giving hope to the children of the fallen rangers in line of duty. He noted that marathon is specifically a good avenue because it is a mass involvement team building sport and appreciated the support and commitment of partners to ensure it happens annually.
The early morning run began with a warmup session that enabled participants to get ready for their races and ended with another round of entertainment as a cool off. This was shortly proceeded by the awarding of the winners. Winners of the various races were heavily awarded, the best took home a cash prize of one million Uganda shilling, seven hundred and three hundred thousand respectively for the second and third winner.
Entertainment was part of the 2020 wildlife marathon as participants enjoyed great performances from several groups including renown Ugandan artists John Blaq and Spice Diana. The two artists pulled off great performances causing excitement with participants rising on their feet as they danced to their favourite songs. The electrifying performances by John Blaq and Spice Diana were coupled with cultural and school performances, and acrobats.
Mityana based Robert "Jajja" Lubega won the main men marathon (42KM) with a timing of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 24 microseconds ahead of Julius Kabagambe and David Solima.
In the women category, Jackeline Cheruto crossed the finishing line ahead of Hellen Chemutai and Adiri Nyakeso emerge the best.
UWA's Salim Kwemoi won the men's 21KM coming first ahead of Paul Korir, another UWA runner and Brian Adams Paul Ategeka of Uganda Athletics Fans Academy (UAFA).
Another UWA runner Annet Chesang crossed the finishing line fastest in the 21 KM run ahead of Shauline Chelengat and Police's Slyvia Chelengat.
Abu Mayanja ran 10 Km in 31 minutes and 22 seconds ahead of UAFA's Gonzaga "Kongo" Ssebuma who covered the same distance in 31:47.
UWA'S Dickson Kimwor was third.
UWA sponsored runner Eliot Siwa won the 5 KM men race. Siwa was faster than Mbuya's Farid Wambutwa and UPDF's Richard Amand. Prisca Chesang of Old Kampala SS was first in the women 5 KM race, beating namesake Ndiwa Chesang, Primary Seven pupil from the athletics Bukwo area. Mpigi's Grace Nassimbwa was third.
5th edition of the annual Uganda Wildlife Marathon was launched on Thursday, 20th February 2020 by Sam Mwandha Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority at the organization’s headquarter in Kamwokya. The marathon is one of the numerous activities lined up to mark World Wildlife Day to be celebrated on 3rd March at Saza grounds in Kisoro District, under the theme “Sustaining all wildlife for the present and future generations.”
While launching the activity, Mr Mwandha revealed that the marathon will take place on Sunday, 23rd March 2020 at the Uganda Museum starting from 6:00 AM. The categories for the run will include; 5,10,21,42 km. He argued members of the public to turn up in their usual big numbers to support the initiative.
The Deputy Speaker of parliament Hon. Jacob Oulanya will be the chief runner for this event. He will be joined by Ministers for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Tom Butime and Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi. UWA elite runners, Ronald Musagala, Sara Chelangat and Abu Mayanja are also lined up to participate in the marathon with lucrative prizes to go to the numerous winners in the different categories.
Mr Mwandha emphasized that the marathon’s key objective will be to support the children of the fallen rangers who lost lives in their line of duty. He noted that all the money collected from this event will be directed towards accomplishing this objective. “A minimum of 30 million is expected to be collected and this will be added to the existing 41,760,000/= million that was received over the last three years. He, therefore, called upon all Ugandans to register and take part in this year’s marathon.
Mr Leon Candia on behalf of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities thanked the partners that have generously contributed to the wildlife marathon cause with donations both in cash and kind. He noted that the contributions would have a strong impact on the lives of the children of the fallen rangers.
Mr Hangi Bashir the UWA Communications Manager reechoed the main objective of the run as to support the children of the fallen rangers. “In the last 20 years, close to 50 rangers have lost their lives in the struggle to protect Uganda’s wildlife and when we organize a marathon over entertainment, we are remembering these people.” He also said Uganda Wildlife Authority is promoting wildlife awareness and physical fitness through the marathon. If you buy a kit, you are sending a ranger’s child to school, you are either grooming a minister or member of parliament tomorrow,” he added.
Corporate teams will pay 1,000,000/=, Individual kits go for 20,000/=, student teams 300,000/= for twenty people and 750,000/= for the students who are 50 in number, individual students in primary and secondary will pay 5,000/=. The general public was encouraged to turn up big numbers.
Uganda has been elected Vice President of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wildlife (CMS) with Dr Barirega Akankwasah Acting Commissioner for Wildlife Conservation in Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities taking up the Vice President’s seat.
As Vice President, Dr Akankwasah will deputise the Hon Minister of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change of India. Dr Akankwasah will also chair the Committee of the Whole for the Conference of Parties which clears all business for consideration by the plenary of the Conference. Uganda will hold the position for the next three years. Speaking at the sidelines of the conference after his elections. Dr Akankwasah acknowledged the contribution of Uganda’s success in conservation. “International recognition of Uganda to steer global UN frameworks is a vote of confidence in the conservation efforts Uganda has had. It is the conservation actors both state and non-state that have made my election happen. I owe this to my motherland Uganda.”
CMS is an international agreement between governments that provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. The body brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.
It was adopted in 1979 and entered into force on 1st November 1983. CMS, also known as the Bonn Convention, recognizes that states must be the protectors of migratory species that live within or pass through their national jurisdictions and aims to conserve terrestrial, marine, and avian migratory species throughout their ranges.
Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention. CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them. Besides establishing obligations for each State joining the Convention, CMS promotes concerted action among the Range States of many of these species.
In this respect, CMS acts as a framework Convention. The agreements may range from legally binding treaties (called Agreements) to less formal instruments, such as Memoranda of Understanding, and can be adapted to the requirements of particular regions. The development of models tailored according to the conservation needs throughout the migratory range is a unique capacity to CMS. CMS currently has 124 Parties and Uganda became a contracting Party 1st August 2000.
African Wildlife Foundation in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority has completed and handed over two primary schools to communities that live adjacent to Kidepo Valley National park in Kaabong district.
Kidepo Primary School and Sarachom Primary School that were built with a $900,000 funding from Misha Jannard, were handover on February 4th and 5th respectively.
Kidepo Primary school in Karenga sub-county was initially inside the park before the park headquarters were moved from Apoka to Geremech. Sarachom Primary School is in the community next to farmlands in Lobalangit Subcounty. The schools are in line with the 'Classroom Africa' programme of the African Wildlife Foundation. This programme aims to provide incentives to the local population to embrace wildlife and learn to see it as an opportunity rather than a threat to their livelihoods.
The two schools have been built mainly with local materials found within the area. “Due to the remoteness of the sites and the associated high transport costs, building materials have been carefully selected to be sourced locally wherever possible”, said Felix Holland the designer and architect for the project. He emphasized that the existing local trees species are being protected to an extraordinary extent adding that innovative forms of appropriate agriculture have been introduced in the form of demonstration farms and gardens. Misha Jannard the funder of the project was expressed satisfaction with the work done saying he was glad that the schools will benefit the communities.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority Deputy Director of Field Operations Charles Tumwesigye, that UWA will ensure that the schools are enclosed in an eco-friendly wall to protect the children. He pointed out that management is aware of the potential human-wildlife conflict, especially within the area and all necessary measures are being undertaken to mitigate these conflicts.