While there are persons who engage in poaching and wildlife trade as their main activity, though illegal, the lockdown is said to have forced many others to join the practice for survival as they no longer had access to their jobs.
Poaching in Uganda’s protected wildlife areas has gone down by up
to 70% since the lockdown was eased in June. This is according to the Uganda
Wildlife and forests were the most affected by natural resources when the
country introduced measures to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus which led to
most business activities to stalling.
While there are persons who engage in poaching and wildlife trade as their main
activity, though illegal, the lockdown is said to have forced many others to
join the practice for survival as they no longer had access to their jobs.
But Uganda Wildlife Authority UWA says the influx of people from Kampala to the
villages made matters worse because it increased the number of unemployed
persons in the countryside.
Unlike serial poachers who use sophisticated methods like firearms, there was a
sharp increase in the use of snares or traps to catch the animals, with the
offenders trying to take advantage of a possible absence of park security.
The most affected animals were the medium size ones like the antelopes, which
they hunted for either home consumption or sale.
However, UWA Executive Director, James Mwandha says the incidences have since
gone down for example, in the Bwindi forest areas, by 70%.
// “Cue in: several people left …
Cue out: … before Covid.”//
Mwandha was launching a new drive to boost the tourism sector and
especially visits Uganda’s wildlife areas.
The sector earns the country US$ 1.6 billion annually, as the single largest
Protected areas like National Parks raised less than 100 million in the US$ 10
million (Sh 36 billion) in the month last year. These, however,
have fallen sharply since the outbreak.
The tourism industries around the world increase marketing of their attractions
during the period preceding the Christmas/End-of-Year festivities to fight for
the increase in demand by holidaymakers.
It includes a 50% reduction in prices for tickets to major National Parks
and wildlife reserves as well as birding activities.
The special tracking permits for gorillas have also been discounted to 150,000
from 250,000 Shillings for citizens of the East African Community, while
foreign residents in the country will pay US$ 300, half of the price they
Foreign residents will pay US$ 400 compared to the usual $ 700, while
chimpanzee tracking permits have also been discounted by a third.
Mwandha says, the drive this year is not just a response to the global demand,
but also to the need to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, that have seen