Jjemba Mathew

Conservation in Uganda

Posted on March 24, 2016

Despite a history of poverty, political turmoil and civil war from the 1960-1980s, Uganda has managed to protect its most biologically important regions. Nearly 15% of Uganda’s land is national parks, forests and game reserves. The chain of refuges in the Albertine Rift along the western border harbors half the world’s mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees, hippos, elephants, lions and more, in a rich patchwork of habitats. Little wildlife remains outside of parks, however, and Uganda’s dense rural population puts extreme pressure on protected areas. Poaching for bushmeat, illegal logging, charcoal burning and encroachment for farmland all pose major threats. Newer challenges include the discovery of oil and climate change. Yet figures show that buffalo, giraffe, elephant, impala, zebra and waterbuck numbers have risen in the last decade, benefiting from improved monitoring, incentives for local communities to protect wildlife, and expulsion of rebels from the country.