By Ssebutinde Edris
Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) collected Shs69 billion shillings in the financial year 2021/2022, according to UWA’s Executive director, Sam Mwanda.
The figure contained in Mwanda’s End of Year Message, is more than half the revenue collection in the previous financial year.
“Visitor numbers to our protected areas increased to 265,539 collecting UGX 69 billion in financial year 2021/22 compared to 103,812 visitors and UGX 21 billion in financial year 2020/21,” Mwanda said.
He said UWA responded to 6,872 out of 7,861 reported cases of human wildlife conflicts, constructed 45.4 kilometres of electric fence, added 12 vehicles to our fleet and cleared 2,220 hectares of invasive species, and that they opened 117 kilometres of fire lines, and commissioned a fully equipped biosafety level II laboratory in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
So far, he says, a total of 600 samples have been tested in the lab, and that they conducted 19,360 patrols across the country, arrested 2,837 suspects and recovered of 26,578 assorted poaching implements and assorted wildlife and wildlife products.
Mwanda explains that they body secured 133 convictions out of the 304 cases that we prosecuted in the courts of law while many are still ongoing.
He explains that these achievements would not have been possible without the support of UWA stakeholders especially the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, conservation partners, tour and hotel operators as well as the media.
“We have continued to engage you our stakeholders through formal and informal interactions and you have been instrumental in shaping how we operate through your invaluable Feedback,” he says.
Mwanda says 2022 has been a great year in which they registered impressive milestones for the conservation work.
He reiterated: “We signed three concession agreements to develop high end tourism accommodation facilities in Murchison Falls National Park and Kyambura Wildlife Reserve in Queen Elizabeth Protected Area. These will offer the much needed services to high end visitors who love luxury. To us, the signing of these agreements is a vote of confidence in our work and Uganda as a destination.”
He says on the strategic front, they have placed a lot of emphasis on strengthening wildlife protection, tackling wildlife crime, mitigating negative impacts of human wildlife conflict and promoting our protected areas as tourist destinations.”
He further reveals that they have been aggressive in strengthening UWA relationships with the communities neighboring protected areas and continued to share benefits, thus disbursing shs9.5 billion revenue share to our communities.