On 3rd March 2018, Wildlife Conservation society (WCS) won an award for the contribution to sustainable management of protected areas.
Uganda has 28 protected areas because of their recognized natural, ecological, biodiversity and cultural values.
The chief guest, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda presented the award to WCS staff at the celebrations held at Nyakasanga Playgrounds in Kasese District. Kasese town is sandwiched by the four national parks namely Virunga Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Kibale National Park.
The Prime Minister also awarded individuals and other organisations which have made significant contributions towards wildlife conservation in Uganda.
Individuals who won awards include Mr. Francis Ogwal Sabino for his contribution toward fundraising for Sustainable Management of Protected Areas in Uganda, Walter Odokorwot for his efforts to promote Human-Wildlife Co-existence, and Tom Obong Okello for his dedication to counter Poaching and wildlife Trafficking, and Dr. Siefert Ludwig for his commitment to wildlife Research, specifically the big cats. Organizations which received national awards are: Nature Uganda for Wildlife Havens, Rhino Fund Uganda for Species Recovery, and Rwenzori Mountaineering Services for Sustainable Eco-tourism, Wildlife Clubs of Uganda for Wildlife Conservation Education and World Wide Fund for Nature for the Community Livelihood initiatives.
This years’ event run under the theme “Creating a safe environment for the survival of Uganda’s big cats” which is in line with the global theme “Big cats: Predators under threat.”
The ministry of tourism, wildlife and antiquities in partnership with other agencies organised various activities for an entire week; including a public lecture hosted by WCS, a school quiz, exhibition and marathon organised by Uganda Wildlife Authority on 25th February 2018.
The activities were aimed at raising awareness about the need to protect endangered wildlife species particularly the big cats: Leopards (Panthera pardus), Lions (Panthera leo) and Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).
In Uganda, big cats have cultural value as a symbol of identity and power. They are also a source of foreign revenue through tourism, but face major threats such as loss of habitat to human settlement and agriculture, poaching, snaring, poisoning and diseases, all driven by human population increase, livestock production and climate change among others.
Uganda is rich in biological diversity with fauna and flora that are the bedrock for the country’s growing tourism industry.