published by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)
WILDLIFE USE RIGHTS IN UGANDA WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO SPORT HUNTING
1.0. Policy, Legal and Institutional Framework
The Uganda Wildlife Policy (1999), the Wildlife Act (Cap 200 of 2000) and the UWA Community Conservation Policy (2004) all recognize the contribution of wildlife to the well being of humanity and highlight the need to share benefits accruing from wildlife if wildlife conservation is to be meaningful. Sharing of benefits from wildlife is also important in promoting positive attitudes, knowledge and change of behaviour of the neighbouring communities and the general public towards wildlife conservation in general. Section 29 of the Uganda Wildlife Act (Cap. 200 of 2000) further provides six wildlife use right classes under which the general public can benefit from wildlife.
Uganda Wildlife Authority has been implementing wildlife use rights (WUR) since 2001 on pilot basis in accordance with the Uganda Wildlife Policy 1999 and section 29 of the Uganda Wildlife Act 2000. Wildlife use rights was envisaged as an incentive to promote the conservation of wildlife outside Protected Areas (PAs) and eliminate the negative perception by some people who still regarded wildlife as Government property and of benefit to only foreign tourists.
The overall objective of granting WUR is to promote sustainable extractive utilization of wildlife by facilitating the involvement of landowners and users in managing wildlife on private land. The underpinning principles are that;
• Sustainable extractive utilization of wildlife can provide cultural, customary, and socio-economic benefits at the local, district and national levels.
• The consumption of wildlife resources could contribute significantly to food security and poverty reduction in rural areas.
• Profit motive and leisure factors are important in encouraging private sector and community involvement in wildlife conservation and management.
• Benefits accruing from WUR leads to better wildlife management and increase in animal populations in those areas where they have been depleted.
The WURs so granted local community associations, private landowners and the private sector are:
1. Class A WUR (Sport hunting): Sport/tourist/safari hunting where the benefits include food/protein, trophies, leisure or economic gain. The granting of such use rights depends on viable population of target species and appropriate monitoring and enforcement systems.
2. Class B WUR (Farming) is done under a controlled environment: Class B WUR holder does not require large land unit to implement wildlife farming activities. Breeding stock may be obtained from the wild but with a percentage of the offspring to be returned to the wild as the case for crocodiles. The "farmer" relies on captive breeding to replenish stock. Other than crocodiles, the other current licences include ostrich farming and butterfly farming.
3. Class C WUR (Ranching): This is generally maintenance and propagation of wildlife in a natural setting on large tracts of land that have been set-aside for that purpose and involves some form of extractive utilization. UWA has already licensed some private sector with land of over 42Km2 to introduce wildlife for economic benefit.
4. Class D WUR (Trade): This is one of the main classes that has been widely implemented in Uganda. This is a direct benefit to individuals involved in the trade of wildlife and wildlife products. Individuals and companies are given licenses to collect various non-endangered wildlife species for export. The wildlife is always collected from areas outside protected areas. Communities benefit directly in that they are involved in the capture and maintenance of the holding grounds. The implementation of this class is also subject to requirements under CITES, other international agreements, and the observance of national standards, regulations, guidelines as well as requirements by the destination country.
5. Class E (Using Wildlife for Research and Educational purposes): All Ugandan students are allowed free entrance into protected areas for educational purposes. In addition Uganda undergraduate students are not charged fees while conducting research in protected areas. Protected areas have continued to provide research opportunities to Ugandan students.
6. Class F Wildlife General Extraction (resource access in protected areas): Communities living near protected areas are allowed to access some resources at no cost on a regulatory basis. Resources accessed by communities vary from protected area to protected area but generally include firewood, fish, medicinal plants, grass, water and handcraft materials among others.
2.0. The Case of Sport Hunting
2.1. Current Status
Illegal hunting, changing land uses and degradation of wildlife habitats in the country's land landscape have been an issue of concern with regard to wildlife conservation outside protected areas. The attitude of communities towards the wildlife and protected areas was not conducive for wildlife conservation. By mid 1990s wildlife had drastically reduced in the countryside.
In the private ranches around Lake Mburo for example, the pastoralists on whose land the wild animals reside perceived them as a problem because they were destroying their property and competing with livestock for pasture, water and salt leaks. The residents on ranches saw wildlife as useless and destructive, and this attitude encouraged illegal hunting. Something therefore, needed to be done to save wildlife resident on the ranches and give value to the wildlife as an incentive to the landowners to manage and protect it.
It is against this background that a pilot sport-hunting program (based on Class A Wildlife Use Rights) as a wildlife management tool was initiated and implemented on the ranches around Lake Mburo National Park.
In August 2001 UWA in collaboration with Rurambiira Community Wildlife Association, a community-based organization signed an agreement with Game Trails (U) LTD (a company licensed by UWA to undertake a pilot professional sport-hunting program) to implement a one-year sport-hunting pilot project, on private ranches number 45,46,47,48, 49, 50 and the government ranch around Lake Mburo National Park. The purpose of this pilot was to test the feasibility of community based sport hunting as a wildlife management tool under the wildlife use rights.
The specific objectives of the project were to:
1. Provide incentive to landowners to manage and protect wildlife on their land by giving wildlife as a resource an opportunity to demonstrate its economic value to landowners.
2. Contribute towards reduction of the human-wildlife conflicts among the people surrounding Lake Mburo National Park.
3. Positively change the attitude of residents on ranches towards wildlife and conservation.
4. Provide lessons and information that would guide UWA management in developing guidelines and procedures for implementation of Class A (hunting) wildlife use right as a wildlife management and conservation tool outside protected areas.
Game Trails (U) Ltd was offered a limited annual quota of animals based on the base line surveys and animal census of 1997-2000. The revenue accruing from the animal fees (Table 1) is shared amongst the following stakeholders in agreed percentages:
• Community Wildlife Association (for community development projects) 45%
• Landowner (for individual household livelihood improvement) 30%
• Uganda Wildlife Authority 15%
District Local Government (Sub-county level) 5%
• Community-Protected Area Institution (CPI) 5%
Table 1: Animal Fees Charged by Game Trails (U) Ltd
Name of Animal
|Name of Animal||Animal fees in US$/Animal|
|Bush pig||Potamochoerus porcus||150|
|Uganda kob||Kobus kob||500|
The initial pilot project ended on 31st July 2002 and an internal evaluation was carried out and revealed very positive results. Animal numbers have gone up and community attitudes towards wildlife conservation and park management improved tremendously. Based on the results of the internal evaluation, a one-year bridging phase was agreed within which guidelines and mechanisms for the extension of the pilot sport hunting project to cover a wider area were developed.
Hence, in November 2003, the pilot project was extended for three years to cover three blocks of Rurambiira, Rwakanombe and Nyakahita. The extension of the pilot project resulted in three new contract agreements between UWA, Game Trails (U) Ltd and each of the three Wildlife Associations. After a further 3 years extension, the pilot project finally comes to an end at the end of October 2009. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is currently carrying out an external evaluation of the project.
The major aim of the evaluation is to assess the impact of the ongoing pilot sport-hunting project within the ranches around Lake Mburo National Park and make recommendations for the next phase after the pilot project ends as well as make recommendations on how to revive and expand the sport hunting industry in the country after over 30 years of virtual non existence.
2.2. Future Plans
Currently, there are only two companies that are licensed to carry out sport hunting in Uganda and these are: Game Trails (U) LTD and Lake Albert Safaris Ltd (operating in and around Kaiso-Tonya Community Wildlife Area and Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve). Over the next three to five years or so, sport hunting will also be opened up in the following:
The Community Wildlife Areas:
1. Karenga CWA (956sq.km). This is an adjacent to Kidepo Valley National Park, in which wildlife moves south along the Lokalis river to open plains south of the Rom mountain.
2. Amudat CWA (2,053sq.km).This extensive arid area of eastern Karamoja still supports a lot of biodiversity. Being too arid to cultivate, there may be some chance for wildlife protection. This area is a buffer zone between the Pian Karimojong and the Pokot.
3. Iriri CWA (1,046 Sq. km) this area is composed of the large part of the former Bokora Corridor WR that has been degazetted.
4. Rwengara CWA (76 sq. km) This wetland on the southern shores of Lake Albert is important for conservation. It protects a corridor through which wildlife can move from DR. Congo to Toro Semliki WR.
Wildlife on private lands:
1. Ranches in Kafu River basin: These are areas in the southern 'cattle corridor', constituted by the central rangelands of Luwero, Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Kiboga and Masindi Districts. They comprise a patchwork of private land holdings. companies have interest already.
2. Ranches in Aswa-Lolim: These are in the open rangelands north of Murchison Falls NP. These were in the degazetted Aswa-Lolim Game Reserve and Kilak CHA, in Gulu and Amuru Districts. These are private lands and wildlife populations are very low, due to illegal hunting. However, the area is adjacent to Murchison Falls NP which may serve as a reservoir, and is sufficiently large to retain a remnant wildlife population to act as a nucleus for conservation efforts.
3. Ssesse Islands: The Ssesse Islands comprise a cluster of some 35 islands in Lake Victoria, ranging from 0.3-278 sq.km. most of which fall within forest reserves and provide good opportunities for bird-watching, whilst there are also possibilities for water-based tourism. The land area of the Ssesse Island in Lake Victoria is either Forest Reserve, mailo land, or owned under freehold or leasehold. Opportunities exist for promoting eco-tourism in both the forest reserves and on private land.
4. Ngenge plains in Kapchorwa: South of Karamoja lies the former Sebei CHA with fine wildlife habitat comprised of Acacia-Balanites woodland.
1. Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve in Karamoja
2. Bokora-Matheniko Wildlife Reserve in Karamoja
3. Ajai Wildife Reserve in Arua
However, it is important to note that, a part from the following; all the areas listed above have been given out or are in the process of being given out to private investors on public private sector partnership arrangements.
4. Ngenge plains in Kapchorwa
5. Ssesse Islands
6. Rwengara CWA