By Patrick Jaramogi : www. theinvestigatornews.com
As elephant population rises in Uganda, registering one of the high rising elephant populations in Africa, government is instituting measures to jealously guard these endangered spices, The Investigator can reveal.
Among the new 'tough measures' to be included in the amended Uganda Wild Life Act are maximum jail terms of up to 20 years and fines ranging up to UGX 200 million (USD 60,000) for poachers.
The Investigator has established that the motion amending the Wild Life Act is ready for tabling on the floor of parliament. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Executive Director Dr. Andrew Seguya confirmed that the bill is already at the first Parliamentary Council.
The State Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Kiwanda Suubi kick started Tulambule wild (go visit) local tourism drive at Murchison Falls National Park with a strong call for all Ugandans to visit and know more about the national parks. The minister who made a grand entrance through Murchison's Kichumbanyobo gate with journalists and locals in tow drummed up support for local tourism. Hon. Kiwanda was joined by his host the Executive Director of UWA, Dr. Andrew Seguya and Murchison Falls Conservation Area Chief, Assistant Director Tom Okello and his entire team of staff in Murchison. The Tulambule wild launched in Murchison will go around all the national parks till the end of February 2017.
"Uganda Wildlife Authority has kept the habitat intact and ensured that the animal numbers shoot up. Tourism is every one's responsibility and therefore everyone should take keen interest in it," said the minister on arrival. He was impressed with the most recent initiative of the state of art gate currently under construction. The gate will be a payment point for cashless system, an internet and coffee point for the tourists as well as a visitor center. "This infrastructural development is important not only to make visitors stay longer but also comfortable. Am glad UWA has done its best to upgrade the park facilities to world class," the minister emphasized as he made a brief address to the press.
While in Paraa, the Minister's Tulambule entourage was welcomed by numerous area Political leaders including members of Parliament and LC V chairpersons of the districts surrounding the park who came to show solidarity with the campaign. Hon. Biranwa Steven and Hon. Jalia Bintu both thanked management for being cooperative and proactive in protection of both the interests of the park and people around it. They reaffirmed their support for the domestic tourism drive.
The Tulambule team combed through all pockets of the park's key attractions to draw support and show case the unique features for the community and media team. This massive launch of awareness is intended to show how national parks are affordable and endowed with unique attractions. Dr. Seguya Andrew called on the locals to interest themselves with national parks because they are affordable and unique. "Our national parks are affordable with low fees for Ugandan nationals reduced considerably from those of foreign nationals. The low budget accommodation costs 20,000/= in the students center for adults while students pay 3,500/=. There also camping facilities available at prior notice," affirmed Dr. Seguya.
Several companies have bidded for three sites to construct lodges in Murchison Falls National Park to boost tourism.
According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) executive director, Mr Andrew Gunga Seguya, the initiative is expected to reduce on accommodation fees for more tourists.
"We invited bidders to construct a 40-bed lodge at Karuma Falls, 30-bed at Rwagongo Forest and another 30-bed at Bugungu on the Butyaba escarpment. All this is aimed at providing more accommodation for clients visiting the park," he said.
Speaking to Members of Parliament and journalists after visiting Murchison Falls National Park in a campaign to boost local tourism named tulambule last week, Mr Seguya declined to disclose the number and name of the firms that have bidded.
The Tulambule campaign started on September 23, 2016, at the onset of 2016 World Tourism Day celebrations in Mbarara. It aims at creating awareness about Uganda tour adventures and destinations and calls upon everyone to be part of this initiative by visiting the 10 national parks other game reserves in Uganda.
The Ugandan National Parks include; Bwindi Impenetrable, Kibale, Kidepo Valley, Mount Elgon, Rwenzori Mountains, Lake Mburo, Semuliki, Murchison Falls, Mgahinga Gorilla and Queen Elizabeth.
State minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda, said the initiative would boost revenue to government.
Most of the accommodation in the park is billed in US dollars, something that has discouraged local tourists.
Half of the tourists that visit the park are foreigners charged entrance fee of $40 (Shs150,000) while locals pay Shs10,000.
The UK top travel and adventure publisher, Rough Guides, has moved Uganda to the Number 4 in their top countries to visit list this year 2017. This is the first time Uganda has made it on the Rough Guides list, and is one of two African countries for 2017. Uganda comes after India, Scotland and Canada.
"The country's commitment to heavy investment in its tourism infrastructure looks set to change this, though, and in 2017 expect Uganda to vie with Kenya and Tanzania for international visitors, drawing more and more travellers with its astonishing wildlife," the Rough Guide says https://www.roughguides.com/best-places/2017/top-10-countries/
The only other African country to make the top 10 list is Namibia at number 9.
This is a huge accolade for Uganda and the additional media coverage on the release of this hot list of where to visit this year is already being talked about and will provide Uganda with additional attention both in the press and on social media. Uganda Tourism Board hosted Rough Guide journalist Keith Drew from 8-15 September 2016. During the fam trip, he visited a number of Uganda's tourists attractions, from which several stories were generated. The fam trip was organized under Kamageo, the PR and Marketing firm representing Uganda in the UK and Ireland.
Since the PR firms began representing Uganda, the country has gained international media coverage worth over UK pounds 1.2m in the UK market and over Eur2million
Austria, Germany and Switzerland
United Kingdom and Ireland
By Gessa Simplicious
After the successful Johannesburg CITES COP17 conference on international wildlife trade policy that underscored the ecological importance of pangolins, parrots and other species by banning trade in these species through Appendix I listing, conservation in Uganda has yet another chance to take giant benefit strides. Between, December 4-17, 2016, the conservation fraternity across the world will descend on the Mexican city Cancun for high-level policy meetings and negotiations for biodiversity protection. This meeting, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP13 has outstanding implications for future finance and policy directions in relation to biodiversity conservation including wildlife.
This important convention is a platform to lobby and negotiate for funding from developed countries to support habitats on the priority list. Previously such negotiations have resulted in the signing of key protocols like the Nagoya Protocol which allows for equitable benefit sharing of biodiversity resources and the Cartagena Protocol that protects our biodiversity and agriculture from being exposed to GMOs that could impact our precious resources. These protocols have been successful in guiding resource access to communities with an emphasis on economic benefits for citizens around protected areas.
By Titus Kakembo
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has apprehended a number of people suspected to be the masterminds of illegal trade in wildlife.
The culprits, under the leadership of a Malian national with expired travel documents, were intercepted with six tons of pangolin scales.
Due for deportation to Tanzania where the shipment was detained, the multi-nation operation was led by UWA together with partners like the Lusaka Agreement Task Force with support from Interpol and Freeland.
"All eight species of pangolin are listed as threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List," stressed UWA publicist Gessa Simplicious.
"Neither can their long and powerful claws that enable them rip open ant nests protect them against poachers nor can the long sticky tongue used for picking up insects deter aggressive intruders."
Pangolins are unique in that they are the world's only scaly mammals.
Their scales are made of keratin, which is the same protein found in rhino horn and human fingernails. The strong scales overlap themselves like leaves. In the wild, when attacked, they roll up in a ball to protect themselves but lately, this defense mechanism does not help them defend against poachers
Dubbed the "pearl of Africa" by Winston Churchill in 1908, the small but incredibly diverse nation of Uganda remains a fascinating yet vastly underexplored destination.
The country's commitment to heavy investment in its tourism infrastructure looks set to change this, though, and in 2017 expect Uganda to vie with Kenya and Tanzania for international visitors, drawing more and more travellers with its astonishing wildlife.
Find everything from three-horned chameleons to the iconic mountain gorilla – now more accessible than ever thanks to a recent gorilla-tracking initiative that allows trekkers to spend more time in the presence of these beautiful creatures.
Where else you canoe past crocodiles on the Nile, track gorillas in dense jungles, soak in hot springs, scale snowy mountain peaks or visit a traditional Batwa village – all within a single day's journey? Only in Uganda.
Programm and details to be announced