Wild Life Boss Under Fire Over Massive Death Of Zebras And Lions
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) acting executive Director Dr Andrew G. Seguya has spoken out over the shocking deaths of conserved wild animals in national parks.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Seguya denies media reports that UWA has flatly failed in its mandate to manage wildlife and protected areas under its legal mandate in Uganda.
“On the contrary, it has made huge positive strides in boosting the image of Uganda as a successful conservation and tourist destination country gifted by nature,” says Seguya.
Despite being ranked among the best tourist destinations in the World by the international media such as Lonely Planet, The New York Times and National Geographic, UWA has in the recent days been under immense pressure to explain why the number of Kobs in Queen Elizabeth National Park is taking a nosedive.
Chimpreports.com experts say the death of 25 elephants at Murchison Falls National Park in 2011, according to the Auditor General, is a matter of national concern.
Seguya says whereas UWA acknowledges that the Office of the Auditor General carried out a value for money audit in 2011, the decline in some wildlife populations in some of the protected areas is a result of many factors both anthropogenic and environmental as a result of climate change.
“It should therefore not be entirely attributed to the weakness in management as climate change is a global reality and has affected almost all countries. Worth noting as well is that as the human population continues to grow, the population of wildlife worldwide continues to reduce due to habitat loss and other pressures exerted by the increasing human population,” explains Seguya.
He further notes the decline in some wildlife populations especially Kobs in Queen Elizabeth National Park is mainly a result of climate change that has modified the habitat and affected their breeding patterns.
“UWA is working with universities both in Uganda and oversees as well as renowned wildlife research organizations such the Wildlife Conservation Society to undertake research into the population dynamics of the Uganda Kob in Queen Elizabeth National Park and will at an appropriate time after undertaking scientific research explain the observed decline,” elaborates Seguya.
The embattled UWA boss notes Murchison Falls National Park did not lose 25 elephants in 2011 as quoted in the report.
“The figure of 25 is for the whole country, which though higher than was previously recorded since the early 90s is still lower than what our neighboring elephant range states are losing through poaching per year.”
Seguya says there is generally an increase in elephant poaching in all elephant range states in Africa following the down listing of elephants in southern African countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe) by CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species) at CoP 15 in Qatar 2010 and lifting the international ban on ivory trade from those countries whose elephant populations were down listed from cities.
He also says the lifting of this ban for southern African countries triggered increased ivory demand especially in Asia that most probably caused increased elephant poaching not only in Uganda but in the whole continent.
“UWA has worked an continues to work with Police, UPDF, Customs and the Judiciary to curtail ivory trade in Uganda that is the cause of elephant poaching through arresting and successfully prosecuting ivory traffickers. As a result, we have not registered any incident of elephant poaching in the parks since November 2010,” asserts Seguya.
The report noted that lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park have reduced by 81%.
“This is however not true as the lion population in Queen Elizabeth National Park has reduced by about 50% from approximately 400 in the 1980s to the current estimate of 200. Most of these lions have been radio collared for monitoring by UWA in partnership with the Uganda Large Predator Project and Wildlife Conservation Society, so it is very easy to ascertain their population,” Seguya defends himself.
According to the UWA boss, the most significant reduction in lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park was registered during the Basongora invasion of the park in 2007 when over 30 lions were poisoned by the cattle keepers in a space of five months.
“Other than occasional incidents of lion poisoning by pastoralists, the other factor responsible for the low numbers is the high infant mortality that is a natural phenomenon with most predator populations in an ecosystem as well as disease.”
Seguya notes there is still plenty of prey in Queen Elizabeth for lions.
Also to be noted is that the recent change in land use from fishing to cattle keeping by some residents of fishing villages inside Queen Elizabeth is another big threat to lion populations, according to Seguya.
He called upon the general public to be patient as government is in the final stages of resource mobilization to fence off the protected areas as a way of stopping animals from crossing over from national parks to community land.
Rate this article
Updated on 2013-06-04 10:39
|We Buy||We Sell|
|Cash||South African Rand||280||295|