Another 110 rangers from all the conservation areas underwent a one month training in basic wildlife management at the Uganda Wildlife Training Institute (UWTI)in Katwe, graduating on 21st February,2015.This brings the number of those trained since last year to 540 after 430 trained last year .
Speaking at the pass out ceremony on Saturday, the chief guest and commissioner for wildlife in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Mr. James Lutalo observed that the trainees had demonstrated a lot of interest in real issues affecting conservation including the negative impact of the alien invasive species, benefit sharing with the communities, and more need for research. He also challenged the staff whose skills had been enhanced, to scale up the fight against poaching and illegal trade in wildlife by avoiding to be part of it.
The chairman supervisory committee for UWTI, Dr. Chris Bakuneeta, urged the UWA staff to combine conservation with culture in disseminating conservation education messages. He also urged the management of UWA to effectively implement the new Revenue sharing guidelines to ensure that the targeted groups benefit not the accounting officers who handle the money. He remarked that middle level staff and not only rangers should go for training in basic wildlife management in order to further appreciate the sector.
Mr. Nelson Guma who represented the UWA Executive Director said the organization had a deliberate strategy and program to continuously build the capacity of her staff to improve their performance in contributing to the UWA vision.
Mr. Guma said the issue of healthy ecosystems was critical for the organization. ”We need to manage the ecosystem better based on research in order to support wildlife,” he stressed.
The Conservation Area Manager also emphasized the need to mitigate the escalating human-wildlife conflict caused by stray animals which raid community crops causing food insecurity and resultant poverty, and at times human injury and death.
On tourism and financial sustainability, Mr. Guma said elephants are the most sought after animals by tourists and the rampant trade in ivory has to be stopped if we are to continue receiving good visitor numbers.
He also promised that the organization has plans to take staff for advanced training at the African Wildlife College and other tertiary institutions.
All the trainees passed with the best four named as Melvin Kaheeru(BMCA),Michael Kyotaite(KVCA),James Nyakaana (BMCA) and Simon Muhindo from KVCA.