Combatting Wildlife Crime in Uganda

Project LocationMurchison Falls National Park & Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
Project TypeWildlife and habitat conservation, Community conservation initiatives, Endangered species protection
Endangered SpeciesAfrican Elephant, Rothschild's Giraffe, White-bellied Pangolin, Giant Ground Pangolin, Temminck's Ground Pangolin

Countering Wildlife Crime: Livelihoods, Intelligence and Prosecution Capacity Building in Uganda

To overcome Uganda’s role as a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trade and tackle poaching within its parks, Tusk and the Uganda Conservation Foundation are identifying and reducing the factors that push people into wildlife crime.

With funding from the UK Government through the IWT Challenge Fund, the project’s ultimate goal is to contribute to poverty alleviation and  reduce wildlife crime in two of Uganda’s principal protected areas: Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. To this end we are supporting poor rural communities around these two parks with human-wildlife conflict prevention and community food gardens for sustainable livelihoods. We have also been providing training in information management and data collection for intelligence officers.

Having analysed offender data and maps of poaching and human-wildlife conflict, food gardens have been established in Buliisa (Murchison Falls) and Rubirizi (Queen Elizabeth) districts, each with 25 member groups who have established irrigation systems and planted crops based on their permaculture garden designs. Both gardens are producing a variety of yields not previously available in the areas and are beginning to supply local tourist lodges. A further group in each area is now being developed to establish further gardens.

Rubirizi is also benefitting from human-wildlife conflict prevention measures, while at Murchison these measures are being introduced at Nwoya. Community scouts have been recruited and trained to patrol both areas and deter elephants in particular from crops. They have been introducing bee-keeping and the cultivation of unpalatable crops - e.g. chilli, ginger, sunflowers etc. – to create a deterrent or barrier, while also providing further livelihood support.

The training in information management and data collection for intelligence officers has so far seen 50 intelligence officers from the Uganda Wildlife Authority in human intelligence techniques through contractor Maisha Consulting. They have also been provided with extensive intelligence equipment. Among other things the project has also supported nine scholarships for UWA legal personnel. Thanks to this investment the project has already resulted in significant arrests and improved prosecution techniques.

(Top photo courtesy of Will Clark)

Tusk Support

Tusk has been leading this project in partnership with the Uganda Conservation Foundation, which is responsible for in-country implementation. Other local partners include the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN), Soft Power Education and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Notes from the field
Human-wildlife conflict is the biggest issue here – anything to help is a good thing. We want to engage more people in conservation, develop their skills, and provide equipment… The main aim is to keep people happy – they are cultivators, and if they are not bothered by the animals they will not engage in human-wildlife conflict prevention
Community Conservation Warden, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Queen Elizabeth National Park
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