On Thursday 30th August 2012 Evening, news were broadcast on Television that people (fishermen) in Rubirizi District in Western Uganda were complaining about Crocodiles and other wild animals which leave the park and destroy people’s crops and even kill human beings.
This was indeed bad, but it all brings us to the root cause of why these animals leave the park and end up in people’s homesteads? This was possibly because their natural home which is the bush is burnt down in wild fires by poachers so that that the animals can run away from the parks and it becomes easy for these ill-minded people to get a chance of getting their hands on these animals since the park is tightly guarded by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials and while in the parks, it becomes impossible for these poachers to access the animals.
Sadly, one day later on 31st August 2012,the news was again broadcasted on the same Television that several people had been arrested with 3 pairs of fresh ivory attempting to smuggle them out of Kasese to an unknown place to be sold! Since an elephant has 1 pair of ivory tusks, it means that 3 had been killed, and there is a possibility that more than that number (of other animals including elephants) is killed, afterall it is not a must that every animal that gets killed, must be known and its killers arrested since other animals (including the precious gorillas) get serious injuries and even death caused by the dangerous traps set by poachers!
This was indeed very bad because these African black elephants are one of the most sought after mammals by tourists while in Uganda since it is the largest land mammal in tropical Africa and possibly the world, and it is the major reason why many tourists visit queen Elizabeth on their favorite Uganda Safari.
Now, we are trying hard to develop tourism, how shall we be able to develop tourism if we continue to kill our own animals?
These are some of the reasons why it has been very hard to sensitize people about the importance of wildlife amongst us: –
Political reasons. Since politics is a smear game especially here in Uganda, politicians especially those ones who use populism and opportunism as a political strategy and jump on every chance they get to score political points and gain political capital.
Recently in the election campaigns for the Kasese woman Member of Parliament bye- election, some senior Ugandan politician was heard telling people that the reigning government under Museveni had intentionally left people of Kasese (in which Queen Elizabeth is located) to be eaten by crocodiles and he was mobilizing then to “revenge against the government politically by voting it out of power and against the crocodiles by killing them”.
So this is someone we take to be enlightened and he is always attempting to become the Ugandan leader, if he became the president, could we have any more national parks if he can’t have bold eyes to see that tourism contributes more that US$ 225 Million annually to our country’s earnings?
I think there should be a deliberate campaign to educate everyone from top to about the importance of tourism to the world, starting with our dear Uganda.
Population growth. As a result of population growth continues to rise rapidly, the pressure on all the natural resources continues to rise leading to the unending conflict between wild animals and human beings which leads to death to both sides.
Ingnorance.This is obvious that most Ugandans including the high profile and well educated ones do not know how tourism is handled and how it helps the world, so they find it necessary to finish off every tourist site and use it for other purposes and even kill the animals fro their body parts for material and financial benefits.
In conclusion therefore, I know this article might not change anything on the ground,
But since it has highlighted the major reasons why both our tourism and our animals are threatened with extinction, I hope it will act as a catalyst in sensitizing people to help in conserving our nature and environment.