The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) achieved a huge milestone in its efforts to manage wildlife outside the national parks when it signed a tripartite partnership agreement with a Germany investor and the districts of Luwero and Nakaseke to put in place systems for preventing the wanton killing of wildlife by making it economically profitable.
The Germany investor, Christian Weth owns a company, Uganda Wildlife Safaris and this will work closely with the district leaders of Nakaseke and Luwero to start eco-tourism projects, control problem animals and start game farming projects among others.
The two districts are situated in the Kafu Basin which has large populations of wildlife even though it is not a designated national park or wildlife reserve. As a result, the area experiences human-wildlife conflicts, with humans wantonly killing wildlife and wild animals damaging crops. Some of the animals in the area include warthogs, leopards, bushbucks, hyenas and Uganda kobs among others.
Uganda Wildlife Authority has over the years sought to partner with private sector organizations and the local governments in the Kafu Basin to manage the wildlife in the region so that the local communities can derive incomes from the wildlife through tourism, hunting and farming rather than kill off the animals. Many local people in Kenya and other South African countries have gotten rich from turning their land into private wildlife ranches and making money from eco-tourism and sport-hunting.
Christian Weth, who said he will invest about $3m in the venture, explained, “There is huge potential for tourism, sport-hunting and game farming in this area; we will be bringing tourists to see the animals.” Weth said the communities will get all the support they need especially with regard to vermin control.
The LC 5 Chairman for Luwero District, Ronald Ndawula said this will be an opportunity to improve people’s livelihoods. “We expect to get increased incomes for our people,” he said and added, “A lot of land has been lying around unutilised, but now we are going to get money out of it.” He said people have been sensitized not to kill the wild animals, and have been taught how to avoid being disturbed by the animals.
These sentiments were echoed by the Vice Chairman for Nakaseke District, Mohammed Ggubya, who said that they expect that the district will earn more income from the wildlife and the people’s crops will be protected. When the systems for managing the area are eventually in place, all the stakeholders will share in the revenue that will be generated from the tourism, hunting and farming projects that will be implemented.
The UWA Executive Director, Moses Mapesa said the partnership is a practical way of addressing the problem of vermin and problem animals in the Kafu basin. He explained that the investor’s task will be to identify and attract people who are interested in vermin animals and bring them to Uganda to hunt the animals at a good fee, which will be shared by the landowners, the districts, the investor and UWA.
The Chief Conservation Area Manager for UWA, John Makombo said the partnership management agreement is aimed at ensuring sustainable management of wildlife in the Kafu Basin and increased benefits to all the communities in the Basin.
Makombo said, “This is a very big achievement in terms of partnering with other stakeholders to manage wildlife outside the protected areas and in empowering local communities who keep the wildlife on their land.”
Other areas where UWA is planning to initiate partnership management arrangements include Ajai Wildlife Reserve, Matheniko Bokora Wildlife Reserve, Katonga Wildlife Reserve and East Madi Wildlife Reserve.
“The overall objective of these partnerships is to ensure sustainable management of wildlife with the accruing benefits going to the people,” Makombo said.