Uganda will join the rest of the World to celebrate United Nations World Wildlife Day

Hon. Col. Tom Butiime while lauching the International Wildlife Day at Media Center

The 2024 World Wildlife Day Uganda’s national celebrations will be held in Kyenjojo District on the 3rd of March and H.E. the President of the Republic of Uganda will grace the occasion as the Chief Guest.

The theme is “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation”. Digital innovations offer unique opportunities to redefine the connection between people and the planet. Exploiting the potential of technologies that can lead our World to a sustainable future, establishing a harmonious relationship between the environment and its inhabitants.

Hon. Col. Tom Butiime the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities while addressing the press on 20th, February 2023 at the Media Center in Kampala said that Uganda ranks among the top most biodiversity-rich countries globally where it hosts 53.9% of the World’s remaining population of Mountain gorillas. The other percentage is shared between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 11% of the World’s recorded species of birds (which is 50% of Africa’s bird species richness), 8% of the global mammal diversity (which is 39% of Africa’s mammal richness), 19% of Africa’s Amphibian species richness, 14% of Africa’s reptile species richness and 1,249 recorded species of butterflies.

According to Butiime, the occasion presents an opportunity to share efforts being made by the Government to protect and replenish the Country’s fauna and flora for the benefit of Ugandans and the global community. “My Ministry will coordinate the national celebrations on behalf of the Ugandan Government,” he committed

“Therefore, Uganda must join the rest of the World in celebrating this very important and interesting event at Kagorogoro Primary School,” he said

The celebrations will highlight new technological tools and related developments to complement Uganda’s efforts in safeguarding biodiversity and harnessing benefits from wild animals and plants. But also highlight key examples of digital innovations that have been used to enhance wildlife conservation efforts and could inspire practitioners to strengthen ongoing efforts to protect wildlife around the country.

Simon Peter Weredwong, the Conservation Programs Manager at the World Wide Fund For Nature – Uganda Country Office (WWF) addressing the press

Simon Peter Weredwong, the Conservation Programs Manager at the World Wide Fund For Nature – Uganda Country Office (WWF) represented Civil Society Organisations said that since 2021 WWF has been partnering with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to deploy drones and camera traps in the Rwenzori Mountain National Park.

Weredwong added that this has transformed conservation in many ways, where UWA regularly produces maps of the glaciers in the mountains and it also enabled the capturing and documentation of key species in the mountain that existed but did not know their status.

This is critical for decision making and planning and also for enhancing the tourism potential of this National Park. “We believe if these technologies and innovations are scaled up to other national parks and protected areas in the country, the country can really do well in conservation,” he added

He called upon the Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA) to consider tax exemption from the technologies that are brought into the country for conservation. “We appeal as members of the civil society if within your ministry if you could consider some incentives, especially for technologies that are brought into the country for conservation so that we can deploy more and more and we can be sure that other protected areas can also be covered,” he appealed

He continued to say that one of the lessons learned is that these technologies are expensive. “For you to cover a bigger area you need many of them and this becomes exorbitant.”

As WWF wants to emphasise the importance of strategic partnerships and they commit that they will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Tourism and UWA “Together we will transform conservation.”

Daniel Ndihiziwe, WWF Uganda Wildlife Protected Areas Manager speaking to the media

Daniel Ndihiziwe, WWF Uganda Wildlife Protected Areas Manager and a wildlife ecologist addressed the current move to breed lions in the country. “There is a lot involved in breeding animals like understanding the ecology of that very animal, and different animals have different complexities when it comes to their ecological characteristics,” he said

“For example with carnivorous animals, we have to undertake enough satisfactory ecological research to ascertain different factors to enable it to live in such an environment,” he explained

He insisted that it is better to be very systematic in terms of approaching the process by having a clear understanding of the requirements and also the direction that is being taken.

UWA Executive Director Samuel Mwandha, also acknowledged that this particular celebration is key because it is the main celebration that we have that focuses on wildlife. “As UWA, we are fully engaged and will fully participate in all activities”

“For example, The National Wildlife Marathon will happen on 25 February 2024 as we run to raise funds to support families of Rangers who have fallen in the line of duty,” he informed

“We are expectant that the whole nation will rise with us and work to create awareness about the issue of digital innovations that are used in wildlife conservation.”

The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities recognises the relevance and importance of digital innovations in addressing the current wildlife conservation threats and challenges.

Digital technology has significantly transformed traditional wildlife conservation strategies while the country copes with human-induced conservation challenges, digital innovations such as drones, satellite tracking, DNA barcoding, and social media have become critically relevant to the contemporary practice of wildlife conservation by improving our understanding of wildlife behavior, tracking illegal wildlife trade and trafficking, predicting biodiversity threats and informing effective conservation strategies.

Uganda remains committed to and will leverage digital innovations in implementing regional and international protocols, conventions, and related Multilateral Environmental Agreements, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the Convention on Migratory Species.




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