KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
Uganda has called for the conservation of
habitat for big cats and less attacks from humans ahead
of the World Wildlife Day on Saturday.
interview with Xinhua on Friday, the chairperson of
Uganda Tourism Board, Daudi Migereko, expressed fear
that big cats such as leopards and lions would soon be
extinct without urgent actions.
them are dying due to habitat loss. People who live
around national parks kill the cats to protect
themselves and their domestic animals. Due to population
pressure and increasing land pressure arising out of
limited economic opportunities, killing animals provides
land for agricultural production and selling animal skin
is a source of livelihood,” Migereko said.
example of lions, Migereko said there were about 1,000
of them in 1998, but the number has reduced to less than
with determination and action, Migereko believes the
trend can be reversed.
“That is why
we choose the theme, ‘Creating a safe environment for
the survival of Uganda’s big cats’. This rhymes with the
global theme, ‘Big cats: Predators under threat’. This
theme is important because it creates awareness of the
need for people to protect these big cats,” he added.
celebrations will be held in Kasese district, about 360
km west of Kampala. The place was chosen because it is
home for Queen Elizabeth National Park, where most of
Uganda’s big cats are being conserved.
said the government was also trying to create
alternative economic activities for people living around
conservation areas so that pressure on land can be
want to create an awareness of the need to protect the
cats as well as demarcate the land for national parks
clearly. For those surviving on cat’s skin as a source
of income, we shall create some economic empowerment so
that they don’t think they can only survive by killing
animals and selling their skins,” he said.
about the licences being given out by the Uganda
Wildlife Authority to authorize hunting, Migereko said
the hunters were only permitted to hunt animal species
which were in excess and “not the endangered ones.”
dealing with poachers is not an easy task. That is why
UWA has been authorized to train its own force so that
they can deal with poachers accordingly,” he said.
currently earns 1.5 billion U.S. dollars from the
tourism sector, with most of the visitors coming for the
country’s national parks.