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Poaching in Game Parks Reduced After Covid-19 Lockdown - UWA

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.

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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 Authority. 

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 economic activity.  

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 usually pay.  

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 revenues fall.      

 // “Cue in July to September …   

 Cue out … figure for last year

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