‘Concentrate on prevention of human-wildlife conflict’

Legislators want the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities to put more effort in promoting prevention of human-wildlife conflicts and not compensation.

The Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa said the Wildlife Compensation Fund has not been effective enough.
“People have applied for compensation but you do not have money. These people do not desire for compensation because by the time you compensate them, it is not adequate to rehabilitate them,” Tayebwa said.

He said the ministry should focus on prevention by setting up structures to ensure animals do not cross from national parks to destroy people's crops.
“I have seen that you have budgeted for only 15KM of electric fencing at Shs3.13 billion yet this fence would prevent you from compensating people. People want you to protect them from the animals,” Tayebwa added.

Hon. Sowedi Kitanywa (NRM, Busongora County North) stressed the need to complete the erection of electric fences across national parks saying animals tend to avoid fenced areas.
“This should be taken as a priority. Farmers neighbouring national parks are not interested in compensation because it comes in as a by the way. We need to work more on the preventive aspect,” said Sowedi.

Moyo County Representative, Hon. Tom Aza called on the Ministry of Tourism to extend the project of electric fencing to Moyo District to curtail elephants that cross from Nimule National Park.
“These animals cross into Uganda in DifulesSub-county and wreak havoc by destroying crops and displacing people. The people in this area are crying foul,” said Aza.

Kiboga District Woman Representative, Hon. Christine Kaaya said some residents vacated land after white colobus monkeys invaded their farms and destroyed crops.
“When we approached Uganda Wildlife Authority, they requested us not to attack them but UWA did not heed our plea to help us yet the district does not have a vermin control officer,” Kaaya said.

In the report of the Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry on the ministerial policy statements and budget estimates for Financial Year 2023/2024, the Deputy Committee Chairperson, Hon. Catherine Lamwaka, said human wildlife conflict has increased in the last five years.

The Committee recommended that the Uganda Wildlife Authority should invest more resources in creating awareness to communities neighbouring national parks, regarding the existence of the Compensation Verification Committee and the fund.
 “The UWA Compensation Verification Committee should fast track compensation claims lodged before it in view of the backlog of 7,795 cases of human-wildlife conflict reported,” Lamwaka said.

The State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Martin Mugarra said the electric fence is being implemented in phases due to the costs involved. “The Uganda Wildlife Act only appropriates two per cent of our gate collections to compensation. We have slightly less than Shs2 billion to compensate over 7,000 claimants because we did not collect enough money during Covid-19,” said Mugarra.