UWA gives back to communities neighboring protected areas

By Gloria Nakiyimba

Uganda Wildlife Authority –UWA has today handed over cheques worth UGX 4,479,575,644 to communities surrounding Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area.

While handing over the cheque to the district leaders of Kisoro, Kanungu and Rubanda at the Bwindi Conservation Area under the revenue sharing scheme , Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu appealed to the communities and leaders to support efforts of fighting illegal activities in protected areas.

“We are giving this money in recognition of the important role that communities play in our conservation efforts; we believe that we cannot effectively conserve wildlife without the support of the communities. I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for rallying behind UWA in conserving the two gorilla parks. It is my humble appeal to you that you continue with this support to conservation and ensure that all forms of illegal wildlife activities, are eliminated” he said.

The money will be used to finance a total of 76 projects: 17 in Kisoro, 24 in Rubanda and 35 projects in Kanungu. Four community camp sites will be funded in Bujengwe, Mpungu, Ruhija Sub County and Karangara.

One community Resource Center in Mukono Parish, Kayonza Sub County will also be set up using some of the cash and once completed, the community tourism camp sites will generate more revenue from the increasing tourism business to the community.
Prof. Kamuntu noted that government appreciates the contribution of communities neighboring protected areas in the conservation of wildlife in Uganda.

According to minister Kamuntu,the money disbursed under the revenue sharing scheme keeps on increasing because of the ever increasing number of tourists who visit the parks to track gorillas and urged them to work closely with the park management by ensuring that wrong elements do not infiltrate parks so that visitor numbers keep on swelling.

“The revenue share to the Districts will continue to increase, in response to the increasing number of tourists who come to our protected areas. I would like to appeal to everyone to play their role to ensure the parks and their surroundings do not get infiltrated by wrong elements that can cause insecurity” Kamuntu reiterated.

UWA Executive Director Sam Mwandha emphasized the benefits to the community from wildlife conservation saying, “today is very historic moment when we celebrate another important milestone in our effort for sustainable wildlife conservation. In line with the UWA mission, I am pleased with the release of yet another sum of these funds which include 20% park entry fees and $10 per gorilla tracking permit sold in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park,”

He said this money will improve the livelihoods of communities and alleviate poverty. He called for adequate monitoring of the fund so that they are put to good use. “With adequate monitoring, it is our hope that the funds will be put to good use and be spent in accordance with the approved projects so that the benefit the intended people” he said.

Another elephant dies of electric shock at Queen Elizabeth National Park

An adult bull elephant was on Monday morning discovered dead in Mweya Peninsula of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Uganda Wildlife Authority Public Relations Manager Jossy Muhangi says that the carcass of the 35-year-old elephant was found lying near a ground transformer with cables attached to a nearby electric pole.

Muhangi adds that the wire mesh fence surrounding the transformer, a few meters from the Visitor Information Centre, was smashed by the jumbo, trying to force his way through the enclosure. The body was discovered by rangers on patrol.

He says UWA management called Umeme, the power service providers, who temporarily switched off the power to allow the recovery of tusks from the carcass. Veterinary experts are conducting a postmortem.

This is the third case of reported fatal electrocution in less than four years following two other cases involving elephants in Katunguru and Fig tree areas of Rubirizi district.

The death however brings to two, the number of elephants killed in a space of less than a month. Two weeks ago, a KKT Bus knocked an elephant at Dima in Kiryandongo district at 2am as it attempted to cross the road. Three people and the elephant perished in the accident.

-URN

Chimpanzee conservationists organize exhibition to fundraise funds for Chimp Medical center

By Patricia Osman
Chimpanzee sanctuary and wildlife conservation trust is looking for about 80 million Ugandan shillings to build the over 40 chimpanzees a medical facility at Ngamba island in Entebbe.
Lilly Ajarova the Chimpanzee sanctuary and wildlife conservation trust boss says they have now organized an art exhibition dubbed the Jewel of the Jungle at Sheraton Hotel form the 26th to the 28th of May to raise funds for the cause.
She says a number of activities have been lined up for the 3 days event including wildlife conservation discussions, sale of painting art works by renowned wild life painter Taga Nuwagaba and photographs by a wild life photographer Barbara Hollweg  plus art work by Medina the chimpanzee artist.

Raffle tickets will be sold and a draw will held, the winners will win  free trips to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

The event will be officiated by the American ambassador Deborah Malac