London Animal Charities Fair

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Trustees Jacquie Teera (pictured)  and Carolyn de la Plain, with the help of volunteer Alison Cooper, ran a stall selling UCF merchandise,  including the BeadforLife recycled paper jewellery made by women in Uganda, at the London Animal Charities Fair in the Camden Centre on Sunday 6 November 2011 raising over £340 to help support our team in Uganda.

Well done ladies!

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Who is attacking who?

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Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is one of the biggest challenges to conservation and human settlement around Protected Areas. With peace now prevailing in Northern Uganda, after 20 years of conflict, thousands of people formally displaced by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency have returned to their ancestral villages from camps. However, hundreds of people have been forced back to the camps again as a result of elephant raids from the nearby Murchison Falls National Park.

As a fight-back, the residents have given the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) a one month ultimatum to drive the elephants back into the Park, saying failure to do so will lead them to kill the elephants. This is not a sustainable solution. It is important to understand the problem first and involve all the stakeholders concerned. Uganda has the one of the highest human population growth rate in the world which has had an implication on the wildlife. The increment in human population has resulted in encroachment of the protected areas and animal corridors to increase the area available for cultivation, resulting in conflict with the wild animals.

It is possible to live in harmony with wildlife. We at UCF focus on "mitigating Human Wildlife Conflict" - that is, stopping humans and elephants from killing each other. Simply put, if we can protect the humans, we can protect the wildlife.

From our experience in the Ishasha sector in southern Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, there is no single solution to mitigating HWC: a number of complementary measures are needed. For example, the excavation of elephant trenchesand erection of fences create a physical barrier which makes all the difference to the survival of both the human and elephant populations. The use of bees as a deterrent measure for elephants is under trial at the border with Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area.

A trench excavated in Kikarara, Ishasha sector - south of Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area with support from UCF

A fence erected in one of the valleys in Kihihi, Ishasha sector - south of Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area with support from UCF

Based on this success, Uganda Wildlife Authority has asked UCF to roll out the same solutions across Murchison Falls Protected Area in Northern Uganda. This can be achieved with your support by making a donation to UCF.

Animal populations surge in Ugandan National Parks

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The number of animals in Uganda's National Parks and game reserves has soared over the past decade, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) says.

The latest figures show that the population of some species has doubled since 1999, spokeswoman Lillian Nsubuga said. Wildlife had benefited from improved monitoring and the expulsion of rebels from the country, she added.

The animals on the rise include buffaloes, giraffes and elephants. New statistics show that the population with the biggest increase is that of the impala, a grazing antelope. The number of Impala in Uganda has surged to more than 35,000 from around 1,600 at the time of the last census in 1999. Hippopotamuses, waterbucks and zebras are also on the increase.

Ms Nsubuga said UWA had been able to reduce poaching by improving the monitoring of national parks and reserves and by offering incentives to local communities to protect wildlife.

"We can't say that poaching is no longer a problem, but we have been able to reduce it", Ms Nsubuga said.

Full article BBC NEWS Africa, 25th September.


Comment from UCF

UCF works closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to tackle poaching, building the capacity of the law enforcement teams to confront bushmeat traffickers and dismantle poacher camps.

Through its Waterways Project UCF has established a number of marine ranger stations equipped with boats to enable the UWA rangers to move more quickly and easily in order to combat poaching and other illegal activities. We are pleased that the work of UCF is showing dividends with increasing wildlife numbers. Nevertheless, poaching, bushmeat and ivory trafficking does continue and UCF is seeking to expand its work and support of UWA into other national parks and game reserves within Uganda to try to ensure that the increase in wildlife numbers may continue and rebuild to make Uganda once again the Pearl of Africa.

Ten years after constitution UCF continues to support the communities and wildlife of Uganda.  UCF can only succeed with your help. PLEASE DONATE ONLINE NOW.

 

Two elephants killed in Ugandan wildlife reserve

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Two elephants were killed last week in Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve in western Uganda by poachers who crossed over from the Congo (DRC).

Two suspects are being held by the army (UPDF), pending investigations. Three tusks and a gun were recovered from them.

“It is unusual for poachers to cross over from the DR Congo and kill endangered species undetected,” the source said. In a separate interview, John Makombo, the acting head of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), said the poacher who is being held is a Ugandan from Ntoroko and not a Congolese.

“UWA is working with security operatives to identify the ownership of the gun recovered from the poacher,” he said. “It is possible that he was working for someone from Congo which has a porous border. Many poachers prefer working in Congo and use Uganda as a trafficking route.”  

He also said UWA will share information with MIKE, the Monitoring of the Illegal Killing of Elephants, and the Lusaka Task Agreement Force, which polices wildlife crime. Uganda has 5,000 elephants and the number is increasing after the population had slumped in the 1970s due to political and civil unrest.

Although last week’s incident is the first case of killing elephants in Semliki, elephants from Queen Elizabeth National Park regularly cross back and forth to the DRC. “This is an ecological system and that is why Uganda and the DR Congo collaborate in managing the animals,” said Okello Obongo, the chief park warden. “Large mammals do not know boundaries and the most important thing is to protect them irrespective of where they are.”

Excerpt from New Vision, 7th September, by Gerald Tenywa.


Comment from UCF

UCF works closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to tackle poaching, building the capacity of the law enforcement teams to confront bushmeat traffickers and dismantle poacher camps.

The Uganda Conservation Foundation has its origins in Ishasha, southern Queen Elizabeth. It is here that Michael Keigwin researched the Elephant, Crops and People project. One of the results of this project was improved cross-border relationships and coordination between the law enforcement agencies in Uganda and the DRC.

Ten years on, UCF continues to support the communities of Ishasha through the excavation of elephant trenches and other Human Wildlife Conflict mitigation measures. If you’d like to support PLEASE DONATE ONLINE NOW.

 

Elephant ivory from Uganda makes up largest Kenyan seizure in the recent past

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Two tons of illegal ivory confiscated en route from Uganda

Last week, an unaccompanied cargo of two tons of ivory and five rhino horns left Uganda’s Entebbe airport and was intercepted by Kenyan authorities in Nairobi.

A total of 317 pieces of elephant tusk were seized.Most of the tusks seem to have been collected from natural deaths of about 150 elephants over the last 20 years, the most recent being just six months old.

The cargo, which was falsely declared as containing only fresh avocados, was packed in 12 wooden crates. The authorities were suspicious of the way the so-named fruits were packaged, the weight of the consignment and their intended destination of Malaysia.

One of the suspects in the operation was charged in a Nairobi court on Tuesday while the main owner of the consignment is still on the run. Investigators are following up on the vehicle that transported the contraband and its driver. The second suspect, who was an employee of a freight company, was released after questioning.

Kenya Wildlife Service and regional wildlife group Lusaka Agreement Task Force are in the process of contacting the Uganda Wildlife Authorities to help with investigation on the source of the contraband and how it slipped through Entebbe Airport unnoticed.  

A total of three seizures of illegal ivory from Uganda and Mozambique were made at Kenya's main airport in Nairobi in one week.

In the same week, a Chinese national was jailed for 18 months in Nairobi for attempting to smuggle 10 illegal worked ivory chopping sticks and two bangles.

Source: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, August 26, 2010

Comment from UCF

Poaching elephants for ivory is at its highest levels since the 1989 ivory ban. UCF believes that the sale of ivory products exacerbates the poaching problem.

Pictured are elephant tusks seized in Singapore in 2002. In this haul, 6.5 tons of ivory were seized. Images courtesy of the Center for Conservation Biology, University of Washington

Dr Samuel K. Wasser, Director of the Centre for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, said there was a clear link between one-off sales and the rise in poaching. He says the sales revive dormant markets by sending consumers the message that it is acceptable in general to once again buy ivory and make it difficult to differentiate between legal and illegal products.

UCF are working with Dr Wasser to analyse and map elephant DNA across Uganda for the INTERPOL database that can pinpoint - and thus target law enforcement to - the exact origin of confiscated ivory. To read more about this landmark, high profile international project, click here - Elephant DNA Sampling

Funding is urgently sought to complete the last stage of the Elephant DNA project. PLEASE DONATE ONLINE NOW.

Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring group, tracks ivory seizures and found that poaching and smuggling to markets mostly in Asia has risen steadily since 2004. They blame weak law enforcement in Africa and growing demand for ivory products like chopsticks and ivory.

A note about the rhino horns seized

Uganda is commonly used as a smuggling route from Sudan and the DRC, for example, which explains the presence of rhino horns in the shipment. In 1970 Uganda was home to 300 black rhinos and 120 white rhinos but by 1982 the rhino had been wiped out in Uganda. Poaching was the major factor behind the animal’s swift demise. Rhino horns can command up to one million US Dollars for their aphrodisiac properties (in parts of Asia) and for dagger handles (in the Middle East). In 2005 four Kenyan rhinos were brought to Uganda.  Three rhino have now been born at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola and the long-term aim of the project is reintroduction of the species into Uganda’s Protected Areas.