By Our reporter
WAKISO, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquites, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu has requested Safari Club International (SCI) Foundation to carry out research for sustainable conservation of Africa’s wildlife. The foundation is a diverse group of international senior government officials, professional hunting associations, policy experts and wildlife biologists.
“For instance in Uganda, there is now human wildlife conflict especially for land, the population of people and animals is increasing. What will happen in future when there is no more land? You support research to find solutions affecting wildlife like human being wildlife conflict and climate change. Share the research information and we see how we can conserve these resources not only for Africa but entire world,” he said.
Poachers have become very sophisticated; they kill elephants for their tasks, hoppos for their teeth and have contributed to rebellions in the country, said Prof. Kamuntu, at the five days 16th African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) at Speke Resort Munyonyo. Attended by 60 delegates from several African countries, European Union and United States America, the forum discusses African wildlife issues and coordinates responses to current events.
He further said, “I am a politician and every time we go for election, politicians promise to degarzate national parks and kill the animals for meat for voters to eat. We need to change the mind set of our communities.
Prof. Kamuntu said in Uganda, conservation of wildlife is and institutional command and also a moral obligation. Adding, “A total of 16 percent of Uganda is dedicated to wildlife but these animals are not for Uganda alone but for humanity. We hosts more than 54 percent of gorillas, 11 percent of bird in the world and over 2000 spies of butter flies. About 60 percent of wildlife globally has disappeared. We must sustainably conserve wildlife for now and the future but how do we protect these species?”
Tourism accounts for 9 percent of Uganda’s gross domestic product and the country’s top foreign exchange earner.
He said Uganda has combated illegal wildlife trade, strengthened the law and recently recruited 490 game rangers to patrol national parks.
“We have instituted the Finance Intelligence Authority to track traffickers’ illegal money. We have also wildlife courts that have convicted several poachers.” Prof. Kamuntu further explained.
George Owesigire, the deputy director, community conservation, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda is gifted with several wildlife spices, potential to generate resources.
“Ever since the authority was constitutes Uganda has raised Shs11 billion from professional hunters,” he said. Adding, “Uganda implements a robust implementation programme of which the resources are shared with the communities. However there is wildlife human being conflict that has resulted to lose of life and the animals. This forum gives us chance to brainstorm and share experiences with other countries.
Mr. James Rosenfels the chairman, Operators and Professional Hunters Association of Africa, said everyday land for wildlife is taken away and very soon wildlife may have land.
“I hope that we come out with solutions to help our policy maker and our people. Wildlife is important for Africa and we should stand together as Africans to protect wildlife,” he added.
A short video depicting local tourist sites; gorilla in Bwindi, wildlife in Muchsonfalls National Park and source of River Nile was screened as screened to delegates indicating Uganda as the Pearl of Africa.