BULIISA – The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has disbursed over UGX. 4b to communities neighbouring Murchison Falls Conservation Area under the Revenue Sharing Scheme.
The event was held at Buliisa District Headquarters on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, and was presided over Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, who is the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities.
Prof Kamuntu said money is meant to improve the livelihoods of communities in the districts of Oyam, Nwoya, Pakwach, Kiryandongo, Masindi, and Buliisa.
“Government appreciates the contribution of communities neighbouring protected areas in the conservation of wildlife in Uganda,” he said before appealing to communities and leaders to support efforts of fighting illegal activities in protected areas.
“We are giving this money in recognition of the important role that communities play in our conservation efforts; we believe that we cannot effectively conserve wildlife without the support of the communities. I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for rallying behind UWA in conserving the two gorilla parks. It is my humble request to you that you continue with this support to conservation and ensure that all forms of illegal wildlife activities are eliminated,” he said.
Mr.Kamuntu further gave assurances that Uganda is safe for visitors and warned that anyone who tries to endanger tourists who come to Uganda will be dealt with according to the law.
He said that the money disbursed under the revenue sharing scheme keeps on increasing because of the ever-increasing number of tourists who visit the parks to track gorillas and urged them to work closely with the park management by ensuring those wrong elements do not infiltrate to parks so that visitor numbers keep on increasing.
“The revenue share to the Districts will continue to increase, in response to the increasing number of tourists who come to our protected areas. I would like to appeal to everyone to play their role to ensure the parks and their surroundings do not get infiltrated by wrong elements that can cause insecurity,” Kamuntu reiterated.
The Executive Director of UWA, Sam Mwandha, said that the authority continues to improve its relationships with communities, because they are key stakeholders in wildlife conservation. He urged them to join UWA in protecting and conserving Uganda’s wildlife resources.
“We know that communities are important stakeholders in our business. We want to improve their livelihoods so that they appreciate the importance of wildlife conservation and join us in protecting wildlife,” said Mwandha.