9 September 2009
The New Vision
Kampala — EACH week, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has to rescue an elephant or lion from a wire snare.The snares, set up by poachers, are fixed on fences or trees to trap the animals.
According to Sam Mwandha, UWA's director of conservation, poaching is common in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls national parks. "We have been called every week to remove snares from animals in the two parks," he said.
Mwandha said it is necessary to engage the communities more and provide incentives that are better than the proceeds from poaching. He also noted that the population of wild animals dropped in the 1970s and 1980s due to civil unrest and poaching.
Dr. William Olupot, a researcher at the Wildlife Conservation Society, a US -based NGO, said the high rate of poaching in national parks in central Uganda was leading to a decline in some species, which affected the tourism industry.
Apart from game meat consumed by hunters, Olupot named Kampala, Gulu, Masindi and Kasese as the main outlets for the bush meat trade. Olupot said wild animals around the Rwenzori had almost been wiped out.
He recommended more efforts in sustaining the wildlife population to boost the country's tourist potential.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org