It works very closely with UWA to provide equipment, infrastructure, expertise and training to enhance the agency’s capacity and effectiveness. In 2008 it began the Waterways Project to enable UWA to conduct boat patrols of the lakes and rivers within and around protected areas in the West of the country. These waterways were frequently used illegally for hunting or poaching expeditions, transporting contraband such as bushmeat, ivory or charcoal, and unlicensed fishing. Without any water-based enforcement presence these activities went on unchecked.
UCF has provided boat stations made from old shipping containers – together with boats, life-saving equipment and training – for several sites in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks. This has given UWA the opportunity to crack down on activities such as hunting of hippo (for meat) and illegal fishing, which was depleting fish stocks for local communities and killing wild animals through net entanglement. It has also benefited locals by rescuing people from drowning and providing quick access to medical facilities for the sick.
Funds from Tusk enabled UCF to develop over eight marine ranger posts across the Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth landscapes. A water-based presence is especially important in these regions and UWA now has the capacity to operate across and access this critical wildlife areas.
Uganda’s national parks hold a wealth of biodiversity including many rare and threatened species. Continued support is needed to ensure that UWA has the means to protect them.
Image Credits: © Sherry McKelvie