KAMPALA – The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities is engaging in activities to implement the Uganda Wildlife Act 2019.
This was revealed by the Minister Hon. Tom Butime who said that the Ministry is currently working on implementing clauses 83 and 84 of the act. The two provide for the creation of a Wildlife Compensation Committee and compensation respectively.
The Minister while presenting a statement on the implementation of the Wildlife Act on Tuesday, 10 March 2020 said the ministry had begun processes of developing regulations to operationalise the compensation clauses but that the scheme was not yet active.
“We could not start compensating Ugandans without accumulating money to the Compensation Fund. We started with setting aside 22 per cent of the wildlife revenue to the fund starting this financial year 2019/2020,” said Butime.
He added that the compensation regulations were expected to be completed by the end of the current financial year and that the review process of the revenue sharing regulations would be finalised by then.
Butime added that incidences of animal attacks on locals neighboring the national parks especially Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park were being addressed.
“Elephants invading Kiruri Parish in Masindi district and Kitagwenda in Kamwenge are regrettable. The elephants have been successfully brought back into the respective protected areas. Efforts are being made to stop these incidents in all areas neighboring wildlife protected areas,” Butime said.
He noted that measures like electric fencing, trenches, beehive lining and scare-shooting had been carried out by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
“50km of electric fence will be erected around Murchison Falls National Park stating this financial year to cover the hotspot elephant crossing points,” said Butime.
MPs were concerned over the mode of compensation to Ugandans affected by wildlife invasion saying victims of animal attacks who had lost life should be prioritised.
“When an animal is injured, people make noise. But when a human being is injured by an animal, you go quiet. The families of those who have lost lives to wildlife should be compensated because it is the duty of Government to protect lives,” said Silas Aogon MP Kumi Municipality.
On his part, Hon John Baptist Nambeshe, MP Mayinja County, said Government should lessen punishments to persons who kill animals that cross into the neighboring communities.
MPs also advised the ministry to establish wildlife community committees especially in conservation areas, which is a requirement of the law.
“When will these committees will be put in place,” asked Asuman Basalirwa, MP Bugiri Municipality.
Hon. Robert Ntende called on the Ministry to also consider compensation of persons living and operating near lakes who have been attacked by crocodiles.