Category Archives: Wildlife Conservation
Yesterday a Ugandan man and I were planning an environmental education training for teachers. He was lamenting the poor state of the environment in Uganda and said that he wished Ugandans had the same sense of responsibility towards the environment that Americans have. He said “why can’t we Ugandans see the value of the environment and the forests?”
I pointed out to him that the United States has actually cut down 98% of our original forests, and that we aren’t exactly model citizens from an environmental perspective.
His response was “Yes, but you have something to show for it. We cut down our forests and have nothing – you cut down your forests and put a man on the moon.”
He has a certain point. The rampant resource extraction of the 1800s in the United States made us a very rich country, and until recently that wealth was spread much more evenly across society than it is in many other parts of the world.
So here’s my question to you: Why was the United States able to create national wealth from our resources when Uganda’s resources are just making a few people very rich?
Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala
The Rwenzori Mountains and Mount Elgon, the bookends of Uganda, may provide a last bastion for biodiversity in Uganda in a changing climate. While these mountainous national parks get fewer visitors and fewer conservation dollars than the savanna parks with their charismatic wildlife, they might turn out to be the most important ones to protect. Continue reading
Nobody really knows what effect oil drilling will have on wildlife in Uganda. Most of the national parks and other protected areas are slated for drilling, and much of the oil is being found in the Albertine Rift, one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. In Murchison Falls National Park, most of the current and proposed test wells are in the areas with the highest concentrations of wildlife and, while efforts are being made to gather some baseline data on the animals to measure impacts against, population numbers are estimates at best, and behavioral studies of the animals are limited or non-existent. If the natural heritage of this country is going to be protected, a lot more information needs to be gathered.
One thing that Uganda can do is look to studies that have been done in other places that are farther along the oil journey. Gabon is another country that is drilling in its national parks, and it has many of the same species of animals. A study was published this year in the journal Biological Conservation that looks at Oil Prospecting and its Impact on Large Rainforest Mammals in Loango National Park, Gabon. The species they looked at are elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys and duikers – all species that can be found in Uganda as well. Continue reading
Few animals scream “Africa” the way giraffes do. There are nine subspecies of giraffe in Africa, two of which are now listed as endangered by the IUCN. Nearly half of the remaining wild members of this endangered species call Murchison Falls National Park their home. Continue reading