February 26, 2018
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in partnership with other agencies on Monday, 26th February 2018 organised a well-attended public lecture about the state of big cats in Uganda at imperial royale hotel in Kampala, Uganda.
The three-hour event kicked off at 2pm with Simon Nampindo, the country director, WCS as the presenter detailing the various types of big cats found in Uganda. Discussants included: Dr. Siefert Ludwig, Dr. Margaret Driciru and James Musinguzi.
The public lecture run under the theme, ‘the state of big cats in Uganda: challenges, opportunities and future plans,’ which was in line with the global theme, “Big cats: predators under threat".
The presenter highlighted the importance of big cats in any functioning ecosystem, the varied species found in Africa and the threats which are leading to the fast declining numbers over the last decade.
The lecture also featured the trends of the declining lion population at WCS sites, in central, east and west Africa as well as south Africa. Also featured was the need for better data using more recent methods to capture improved population estimates and a review of the existing conservation plans in the various regions.
Regarding Uganda’s experience, deliberations featured WCS’ work on lion, the action plan with assessment of where conservation action should be targeted and the major threats to big cats’ conservation.
The main threat mentioned was the human-wildlife conflict where big cats are poisoned in retaliation to them feasting on community livestock but compensation efforts, security improvements and separate water sources are said to be remedying this challenge.
The public lecture was part of activities organised to culminate into the national world wildlife day celebrations set for 3rd March 2018 at the Uganda Wildlife Research and Training Institute campus in Katwe-Kabatooro Town Council in Kasese District. The town is an enclave of Queen Elizabeth National Park and is also a Wildlife Sanctuary.
WCS partnered with the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Eco Trust, Uganda wildlife authority(UWC), Uganda Tourism Board(UTB), Wildlife Clubs of Uganda(WCU), Uganda Wildlife Education Centre(UWEC) and the Jane Goodall Institute.
Other activities organised by other agencies included a marathon organised by Uganda Wildlife Authority on 25th February 2018, an exhibition, a school quiz and a tree planning exercise in kasese on 2nd March 2018.
In Uganda, big cats are a major source of revenue and have cultural value as a symbol power and identity.