Breaking News

LIVELIHOOD PROJECTS FOR EX-POACHERS HELPING TO PRESERVE BIODIVERSITY IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

At Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National park, Hippopotamus and Buffalos live side by side

BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU

KASESE: Tuesday, February 21, 2023

While a 14-year old pupil in primary five in 1994, Julius Tumushabe got lured into poaching by peers and turned his back on school.

On his debut day, he went out into the wilderness of the sprawling Queen Elizabeth National park in a group of six youths who only carried spears and were accompanied by scrawny dogs.

The hunting expedition lasted three days in which the hunters braced the cold nights sleeping under canopies of trees in the park.

On the third day they killed a buffalo, an iconic tourist attraction of the celebrated game park.

The poachers cut the buffalo’s carcass into pieces and carried it home, where they received a hero’s welcome upon arrival at their Rwerere village in Kiremba parish, Kihihi Sub County in Kanungu district.

The youth feasted on some of the meat with their families but sold most of it using the palms of their hands as weighing scales.

Each handful of buffalo meat was sold at sh1,000 (USD$0.27) and the poachers got a total of sh20,000 (USD$5.44) from that particular kill.

An adult African Buffalo can weigh between 400kg and 870kg according to www.livescience.com and it is a near threatened species as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2018 red list.

But poaching though dangerous is a habit-forming undertaking in that, as testified by one ex-poacher, when you go once whether you come home with meat or not, you always want to go back hunting again.

As such, Tumushabe says although he felt fearful at the start, he eventually grew in confidence and ended up killing countless number of animals and birds for paltry cash and eating at home during his numerous forays into the Queen Elizabeth National park until the year 2000 when be backed off.

His harrowing tales were made during a fieldwork interface with news editors as part of a week-long training held in Kasese district under the Uganda Editors biodiversity program.

The program organized by the Infonile in partnership with the Wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC and Internews’ Earth Journalism Network brought together 20 editors from all the major regions of Uganda.

In addition to classroom training with conservation and journalism experts, the training incorporated field visits to conservation projects and natural sites to familiarize the participants with the importance of biodiversity and inspire them to conserve and restore biodiversity.

Ramweri Byaruhanga, the LC1 chairman of Kazinga Lower village, who dropped out of school in 1995 also put forward a narrative similar to that of Tumushabe. Byaruhanga disclosed that he was in P.7 at Kibimbiri primary school in Kihihi Sub County, when he saw poaching as a quick way of putting meat on the table.

“I would see people go in groups to hunt in the game park and it felt enticing. I started following them where I would carry for them snares and traps,” recounted Byaruhanga.

“Whenever they killed an animal, they rewarded me with meat. I would give some meat to be cooked at home and I sold the rest until I raised money to buy my own snares and traps,” he said.

Poverty, tradition key drivers of poaching

Both Tumushabe and Byaruhanga said that after getting married, poaching became more of a duty than a hobby as they assumed the responsibility of having to keep someone’s newly married daughter happy, feed the children and take care of the family.

Some of the reasons for poaching cited by park neighbors are poverty, human-wildlife conflict and cultural practices passed down from forbearers who hunted certain animals such as hippopotamus to feed expectant mothers believing that it would ease labour.

Allen Mgaza, an expert on wildlife trafficking and conservation attribute continuous poaching of wildlife to a number of factors including traditional medicine and beliefs- for instance the pangolin scales, the eyes, fat and claws of lions and ivory for powder; sandal wood for cosmetics and species used for pets and ornamentals.

A thirsty elephant sips in water as hippos lurk nearby at Kazinga channel.

A series of events starting from around 2000 including intensified clampdown on poachers by the rangers of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) added to the age-old incidents of poachers getting mauled by wildlife compounded to discourage many poachers including Tumushabe and Byaruhanga.

“I saw people being arrested, jailed and punished. Others got killed in the bush, so, I decided to quit in 2016,” Byaruhanga said.

Kihihi residents say they are grappling with many cases of missing poachers who went into the Game Park years ago and never returned.

However they concede that there are still hardcore poachers who do not see life without poaching because as put by Boaz Fred Niwazima, a community mobilizer in Kanungu district, “some do not have land to cultivate, many are uneducated, lazy and keep wondering how they would survive without poaching.”

Niwazima noted that while animals like antelopes and buffalo are mainly targeted to satisfy community’s cravings for game meat and for petty cash, big cats like the tree climbing lions are targeted when foreigners with connections to faraway traffickers such as in the Far East Asian countries come to convince the people to kill them.

Water-bucks grazing against the backdrop of dappling sun rays

In September 2022, the wildlife crimes court sentenced two poachers to 17 years imprisonment for poisoning lions in Queen Elizabeth National park while arrests of poachers for killing buffalos has been recorded.

UWA in a 2017-2023 community based wildlife crime prevention action plan, identified illegal hunting and trade of high value wildlife species, commercial hunting and trade of bush meat species and subsistence hunting for bush meat as priority offences posing a threat to the long-term health of wildlife population and wildlife based tourism.

Piggery and Apiary to the rescue

The general consensus in Kanungu and Rubirizi now is that the rate of poaching in Queen Elizabeth national park has reduced over the years.

Olive baboons at a water point in Queen Elizabeth National park

This among others is said to be due to a livelihood support program implemented by the IUCN, Wild Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and TRAFFIC, under the conserving natural capital and enhancing collaborative management of trans-boundary resources (CONNECT) program which has since 2022 supported 120 households of former poachers in four groups in Kanungu and Rubirizi districts.

These are Kameme, Rwerere, Bwambala and Kamukiri reformed poachers’ groups.

Niwazima says that the groups received 20 sows each for piggery projects and 40 bee hives per group for apiary.

On average, they harvest 3kg of comb honey per hive which is sold at sh10,000 (USD$2.71) a kilo, translating into sh1,200,000 (USD$326.39) per group in every harvest season while some of the pigs have reproduced and the piglets have been given to individual households for multiplication.

Fred Boaz Niwanzima at the piggery project in Rwerere village Kanungu district.

“People have learnt that you can survive on raring animals and bee keeping but we are not reaping much due to lack of knowledge and processing capacity,” he said.

He added that the projects have helped the ex-poachers to pay school fees for children, meet family needs and encourage other poachers to stop hunting in the game park.

Deusdedit Twinomugisha, the UWA’s assistant warden in charge of the Southern sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, without delving into the specifics, reaffirmed that community poaching has indeed declined since the intervention by conservation partners to support families of people who denounced poaching with livelihood projects.

He said to reinforce those efforts, UWA stationed wildlife scouts in every village surrounding the game park and dug a trench from Ishasha to Kamameme to prevent elephants from straying into community farmlands.

Some bee hives at a community apiary project in Kanungu district.

He acknowledged that the livelihood support project are still being limited by inadequate knowledge in managing piggery and apiary, high costs of feeds for the pigs and lack of equipment for processing and that there is still low level human-wildlife conflict being registered, especially during rainy season when the elephants can manage to cross the trench and that there are isolated cases of attacks of domestic animals by wildlife.

He emphasized that the reformed poachers still need a push in terms of skills training and equipment support for value addition.

A more tangible plan to construct a 33km electric fence from the Democratic Republic of Congo border to protect the communities and wildlife could be actualized in the first half of this year, Twinomugisha assured.

About karamojanews

Check Also

Moroto Uhuru League 2024 kicks off, 10 registered

By Edward Akaki UHURU League Table Standing (Courtesy Photo) The all time Moroto district football …

64 comments

  1. Hello, Neat post. There is a problem together with your web site in internet explorer,
    might test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and
    a good component to other people will miss your great writing due to this
    problem.

  2. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.
    Does one offer guest writers to write content available for you?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write concerning here.
    Again, awesome website!

  3. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
    I’m quite certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here!

    Good luck for the next!

  4. For newest information you have to pay a quick visit internet
    and on internet I found this web page as a finest site for most
    up-to-date updates.

  5. Hello, I desire to subscribe for this webpage to
    take most up-to-date updates, so where can i do it
    please help.

  6. Post writing is also a fun, if you be acquainted with then you can write if not it is complex to
    write.

  7. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally right.
    This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much
    time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  8. That is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very precise info… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  9. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I am inspired!
    Extremely useful information specially the last
    section 🙂 I handle such info a lot. I used to be looking for this particular information for a long time.

    Thanks and good luck.

  10. I always emailed this website post page to all my friends, since if like to read it next my friends will
    too.

  11. Admiring the persistence you put into your blog and in depth information you provide.

    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material.

    Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your
    RSS feeds to my Google account.

  12. What’s up, I read your new stuff on a regular basis.

    Your humoristic style is awesome, keep it up!

  13. Nice weblog here! Additionally your web site quite a bit
    up fast! What web host are you using? Can I am getting your affiliate hyperlink for your
    host? I desire my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  14. You’re so awesome! I don’t suppose I have read anything like that before.
    So wonderful to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject matter.
    Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

  15. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to
    assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I
    achievement you access consistently quickly.

  16. Unquestionably imagine that which you stated. Your
    favorite justification seemed to be on the net the simplest factor to consider of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while folks think about worries that they plainly don’t recognise about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also
    outlined out the whole thing with no need side effect , folks could take a
    signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

  17. I love it when folks get together and share views.
    Great website, continue the good work!

  18. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very useful info particularly the last part
    🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain information for a
    very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  19. Hello, i feel that i saw you visited my weblog so i got here to go back the favor?.I’m attempting to in finding things to
    enhance my website!I suppose its ok to make use of some of your ideas!!

  20. This post will assist the internet people for setting up new webpage or even a blog from start to end.

  21. What’s up, I desire to subscribe for this blog to get most recent updates, so where can i do it please assist.

  22. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but
    after looking at a few of the articles I realized it’s new to
    me. Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be
    bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

  23. hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve definitely picked up something new from right here.

    I did however expertise some technical points using this site, as
    I experienced to reload the site many times previous to I could get it to load
    properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
    Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances
    times will often affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if
    advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well
    I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective
    fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again soon.

  24. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I
    find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

  25. Hello to every one, it’s genuinely a pleasant for me to pay a quick visit this web site, it contains helpful Information.

  26. Hey there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with?

    I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough
    time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems
    different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  27. Hello there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My website looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template
    or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share.

    Thank you!

  28. Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements
    would really make my blog shine. Please let me know
    where you got your theme. Many thanks

  29. I simply couldn’t go away your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the standard information an individual provide on your visitors?
    Is going to be back incessantly to inspect new posts

  30. Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger,
    and I was wondering your situation; we have created some nice methods and we are looking to swap strategies with others,
    please shoot me an email if interested.

  31. Hello! I simply wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information you have right here on this post.
    I will be returning to your site for more soon.

  32. Hello, Neat post. There is a problem along with your web
    site in web explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is
    the market chief and a large portion of people will omit your fantastic
    writing because of this problem.

  33. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I believe that you ought to write more on this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but
    typically people don’t talk about such topics.
    To the next! Many thanks!!

  34. Not only that, your e-wallet provider will not share any individual details for transactions.

  35. These are genuinely great ideas in on the topic of blogging.
    You have touched some nice things here. Any
    way keep up wrinting.

  36. Incredible points. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the great effort.

  37. This is really attention-grabbing, You’re an overly skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward
    to in quest of more of your wonderful post. Additionally, I’ve
    shared your website in my social networks

  38. Your style is so unique compared to other
    people I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting
    when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.

  39. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog!

    We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community
    in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to
    work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  40. Hey are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the
    blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any html coding
    knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  41. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much,
    However I am encountering problems with your RSS.
    I don’t know why I cannot join it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS problems?
    Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond?
    Thanx!!

  42. Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am
    waiting for your further post thanks once again.

  43. This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am in fact impressed to read
    all at one place.

  44. I just like the valuable info you supply on your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check once more right here regularly.
    I am reasonably sure I will be informed many new stuff proper right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  45. Maybe you want to double down on your prediction mainly because it appears
    to be a lock.

  46. Usually I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do it!
    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great post.

  47. I like this post, enjoyed this one appreciate it for putting up.

  48. Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Thanks for your time!

  49. My family all the time say that I am killing my time here at net,
    except I know I am getting experience everyday by reading thes good articles.

  50. We’re a group of volunteers and starting
    a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us
    with helpful info to work on. You’ve performed an impressive task and
    our entire neighborhood will be grateful to you.

  51. Hi there, after reading this amazing paragraph i am too delighted to share my experience here with friends.

  52. It’s remarkable to go to see this web site and reading the views of all friends regarding this paragraph,
    while I am also keen of getting know-how.

  53. Amazing issues here. I am very glad to peer your article.

    Thanks a lot and I am having a look ahead to contact you.

    Will you please drop me a mail?

  54. Can I simply say what a comfort to discover someone who truly knows
    what they are talking about online. You certainly know how to bring an issue to
    light and make it important. A lot more people need
    to look at this and understand this side of your story.
    It’s surprising you’re not more popular since you certainly
    possess the gift.

  55. Hi to every one, it’s actually a good for me to visit this web site, it contains valuable Information.

  56. I’ll immediately seize your rss as I can not in finding your
    e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any?

    Kindly allow me understand in order that I could subscribe.
    Thanks.

  57. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was
    a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!
    By the way, how can we communicate?

  58. You can definitely see your skills in the article you write.
    The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who
    are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  59. Wow, this piece of writing is fastidious, my younger sister is
    analyzing these things, therefore I am going to let know her.

  60. Truly no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of after that its up to other visitors that they will help, so here it occurs.

  61. I am sure this paragraph has touched all the internet users, its
    really really pleasant post on building up new web site.

  62. It’s going to be end of mine day, except before finish I am
    reading this impressive piece of writing to increase my knowledge.

  63. We stumbled over here different web address and thought I may
    as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following
    you. Look forward to finding out about your web page again.

  64. This is my first time go to see at here and i
    am truly happy to read everthing at one place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *