Uganda Wildlife Authority has stated it’s optimistic the variety of guests to Uganda’s nationwide parks will hit a report excessive this yr.
“As Uganda Wildlife Authority acquired 367,869 guests between January and December 2022. Earlier than Covid occurred, 320,000 guests is what we had as the best variety of guests coming to our protected areas and this was in 2019 however we surpassed this final yr,” stated Dorcus Rukundo Twesigomwe, the Enterprise Growth Supervisor at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
“367,869 has been the largest quantity we’ve ever registered within the historical past of Uganda Wildlife Authority.”
She was talking throughout a media breakfast at Skyz Lodge in Kampala.
Uganda has 10 nationwide parks, 12 wildlife reserves, 13 sanctuaries and 05 group wildlife areas, all of that are underneath the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Home vacationers rise
The onset of the Covid pandemic introduced the tourism sector to its knees as one of the crucial affected since airports and amenities have been closed.
Nonetheless, following the opening of the economic system, the nation launched into a marketing campaign for Ugandans to go to native vacationer points of interest.
Rukundo defined that evaluating with pre-covid, 2019 had the best variety of guests to Uganda’s protected areas ever at 330,000 however famous because the lifting of the lockdown, the variety of guests has shot up.
The UWA Enterprise Growth Supervisor reasoned that the expansion in variety of guests to Uganda’s protected areas could be partly defined by the outside experiences for a number of Ugandans within the nation’s nationwide parks.
“Final yr we noticed many Ugandans selecting to go to our nationwide parks and different protected areas evaluating to the time earlier than Covid. Many individuals now select to go to our nationwide parks once they would in all probability select to fly overseas.”
The UWA Govt Director, Sam Mwandha stated that the nation is heading in the right direction to beat the variety of guests recorded final yr.
“For us to achieve that quantity (367,869 guests), this quarter we’re in, we solely want 56,000 guests and I’m assured we’ll get greater than 60,000 and we’ll go above. Beforehand, the best we’ve acquired was 330,000 and we at the moment are saying, we’re doing higher than ever earlier than,”Mwandha stated.
Poaching nonetheless a menace
Whereas the nation has taken nice strides in growing the variety of guests to its nationwide parks and different protected areas, points like poaching and human wildlife battle nonetheless pause challenges.
“The most important downside we’ve with elephants, lions and pangolins is poaching as a result of persons are in search of simple cash. The vice of poaching will sadly not go simply. It’s like theft that regardless of many being taken to prisons, there are nonetheless many thieves. What we do is to make sure after we catch you, you get a sufficiently big punishment to discourage you from going again,”Mwandha stated.
For instance, between July and December final yr alone, 7307 poaching implements and 7 weapons with 14 stay ammunitions have been recovered throughout operations by UWA personnel.
Throughout the identical interval, 224.15 kilograms of ivory and 1870.5 kilograms of pangolin scales have been additionally seized.
On the opposite aspect, there have been 3974 instances of human wildlife battle reported.
“Now that the inhabitants for each people and the wildlife has risen, there’ll all the time be battle. Wildlife is aware of no boundaries and what you get is wildlife crossing to the human habitats,”Mwandha stated.