Accurate population numbers are needed for gorilla conservation.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is home to approximately half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Poaching, habitat loss, civil unrest, and disease all remain as major threats to gorilla populations, and as a result, accurate population numbers are critical to protect this species.
All of Africa’s great ape species are either endangered or critically endangered.
Africa is home to four of the world’s five great apes: the bonobo, chimpanzee, and two species of gorilla—the eastern and western. Unfortunately, all of these apes are facing extinction due to a number of threats, including habitat destruction and fragmentation, poaching, the risk of disease transfer from humans, and the pet trade.
Uganda has an extraordinary natural beauty and significant untapped tourism potential.
From the highest mountain range in Africa — the Mountains of the Moon — to the mighty Nile, Uganda is filled with natural beauty.
So, it’s only natural that there is a variety of wildlife and flora found within the country’s boundaries. More than half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, over 1,000 bird species, along with seven out of the 18 plant kingdoms, and more than 340 mammal species find sanctuary in Uganda.
From wildlife artist to wildlife scout: the conservation champion of Murchison Community Conservancy
Lakica Diana never dreamt that her passion for wildlife would translate into a career allowing her to protect some of Uganda's most vulnerable species. For the past nine years, she has lived in the Murchison Community Conservancy, near Uganda’s famed Murchison Falls National Park — growing increasingly fond of its wildlife, and even developing a hobby of drawing her favorite animals. The elephant, despite being one of the more frequent ‘visitors’ to her homestead, is still her best-loved muse. Since April 2019, Diana leads the team of community wildlife scouts securing the conservancy. The 21-year-old head scout has broken the mold to seek out a life she could hardly have imagined, especially when she was a young girl doing household chores, and even after the birth of her daughter when she was 18.
When it comes to biodiversity, Uganda is among the world’s most fortunate countries. It claims 10 percent of the world’s bird species (more than 1,000) and more than 340 species of mammals, including the elephant and the endangered mountain gorilla. Though poaching and bushmeat hunting are controlled in national parks and reserves, species loss persists in the acres of community land outside protected areas, as more people settle close to these biodiversity-rich regions.
Uganda sits pretty as the pearl of Africa. It is beautiful, green, and fertile, and it is the region’s biggest producer of tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples, and avocados. The country’s serene protected areas and iconic wildlife species add to its beauty and attract both local and international tourists. Tourism is a major driver of the country’s economy and makes a significant contribution to its GDP.
Encompassing diverse ecosystems, Africa’s network of protected areas is home to rare species facing a combination of threats — habitat conversion, poaching, and bush meat consumption are just some of them. While the challenges vary across landscapes, many national parks and reserves struggle to meet their budgetary needs. The financial shortfall is vast — according to McKinsey Group, the budget gap is estimated upwards of $1.7 billion annually for all developing nations. Uganda, for example — despite being one of the top 10 most biodiverse countries in the world — has a $15 million funding gap for protected area management.
Sustainable agricultural enterprise, community conservancies, and education campaigns protect wildlife and natural resources across Uganda’s landscapes. Integrating these approaches with local economic growth ensures their continued success as they provide communities with opportunities to benefit from conservation.
There is greater biodiversity in Africa’s Albertine Rift region where Virunga National Park is located than in any other ecosystem in Africa. This richly diverse array of habitats is home to critical populations of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas.
Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park is a known hotspot for poaching, an activity driven mainly by the demand for bushmeat. For the last five years, the USAID/Uganda Biodiversity Program — a program implemented by African Wildlife Foundation — has been working Uganda Wildlife Authority to build conservation awareness and create alternative livelihood opportunities around Murchison Falls.