The Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA) has raised a red flag over the continued extinction of big cats in Uganda’s national parks putting a strain on the country’s tourism sector.
Speaking to journalists at the Uganda media centre, Dr Andrew Ggunga Sseguya the outgoing Executive Director for UWA noted with dismay that while the country reaps big from the tourism sector, failure by communities to appreciate wild life is affecting the sector.
The wild life big cats include lions, cheetahs, and leopards.
A recent census put Uganda’s count of lions at 420 compared to 1000 in 1990.
“These animals usually make it to farms surrounding the game parks but neither make it back to the games parks, they are killed,” Sseguya reported.
Sseguya adds that after human threat, climate change has greatly affected the existence of these wild treasures.
Reports also pointed to extinction of leopards and elephants.
‘There is a lot of poisoning from communities,” exclaimed Akankwasa Barirega from the ministry of tourism.
The ministry has now embarked on sensitisation drive of the wild treasure that will be characterised with runs, and a mini zoo at the Sheraton hotel in Kampala from 25th February and final celebrations on 3rd in Nyakasanga.
The Minister for Tourism, Ephraim Kamuntu explained that the day will be marked under the theme creating a safe environment for the survival of Uganda’s big cats.
Tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda. Visitor exports stand at 1.37bn dollar project, with a recorded total of 1.3M international travels.