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WWF Holds Workshop to Validate State of Wildlife Economy

WWF in Uganda conducted a stakeholders workshop on the state of the Wildlife Economy in Uganda.

A study conducted by the Alu school of Wildlife Conservation found that Uganda is endowed with a great diversity of animal and plant species, which form the foundation of the economy. It was estimated that the gross returns to the national economy from biodiversity alone were as high as USD 63.9 billion and although Uganda occupies only 2% of the world’s area, with a recorded 18,783 species of fauna and flora, the country ranks among the top ten most biodiverse countries in the world.

The meeting was attended by Dr Sue Snyman, the Director of Research at the Alu school of Wildlife Conservation, who presented these findings and Drew McVey, the East Africa Wildlife Crime Advisor. In Uganda, the meeting was attended by WWF staff, representatives from the Ministry of Wildlife and Antiquities, Uganda Wildlife Authority, CSOs among others.

The study also found that the main threats to wildlife conservation and biodiversity in Uganda are poaching, habitat fragmentation, degradation and loss, charcoal and firewood collection, climate change, invasive species, parasites and diseases, excessive harvesting of fauna and flora, plastic waste and pollution of water bodies and human-wildlife conflict. The underlying causes of these threats include population growth, weak governance, limited opportunities for off-farm employment, poverty, lack of awareness and insecurity of land tenure.

During the validation workshop, stakeholders agreed that although there was a large amount of data on the wildlife economy in Uganda, most of it was at a site-level and there was little national level data, with many gaps especially in terms of forest products.  However, there was a debate on how this would be attained since most of the household items that could be used as means of verification are often used in other sectors.

The was agreement to bring the Uganda Bureau of Statistics on board to support in the development of tools that would ensure that the actual value of wildlife and other natural resources is captured and documented.

 The meeting also noted that Ecotourism is well-established in Uganda and contributes extensively to the economy, but there is a need to diversify the tourism product and services and establish better infrastructure (roads, airports, etc.) to accommodate this.
© Happy Ali
Participants during the stakeholders workshop on the state of Wildlife Economy in Uganda