The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu has described the recent killings of eleven lions in Queen Elizabeth national park as a big blow to Uganda’s foreign revenue.
Prof Kamuntu’s remarks come a few days after carcasses of 11 lions were found scattered in Hamukungu Fishing Village, in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The lions are said to have been poisoned by a pastoralist in the village after they reportedly killed his cow.
During a meeting with the communities and leaders, in Hamukungu, on Friday, Minister Kamuntu condemned the act of killing the lions which he said impacts heavily on tourism and revenue generation as most of the tourists who come to the Savannah parks of Uganda are more interested in lion activities.
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible, such an act of deliberately killing animals which are now a top foreign exchange earner to the country contributing 10% of GDP and 23% of the total foreign exports,” Prof Kamuntu said.
He added that it was unfortunate that “such an economically vibrant resource” is maliciously being exterminated by “selfish individuals that are negative towards the development of the communities and the country at large”.
Wednesday’s incident has now reduced Queen Elizabeth park’s lion population to 89 from 100. Uganda Wildlife Authority says Uganda currently has about 400 lions.
The deaths of the lions has attracted condemnation from tourism enthusiasts and conservationists both from within Uganda and across the globe. It has also provoked a debate on whether government initiatives to share revenue generated from the tourism sector have yielded the desired results.
Tourism is Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner. In 2017, the sector generated USD 1.4 billion followed by foreign remittances.
But Prof Kamuntu says that this revenue is indeed being shared with communities surrounding national parks to improve their livelihoods through development projects.
Through UWA, government gives back 20% of the Authority’s annual park gate collections to the communities neighboring the park under the revenue sharing scheme.
“Last year, we gave sh929,269,487 to districts neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park of which sh362,044,141 went to Kasese district to enhance the livelihoods of communities surrounding the protected area,” Kamuntu said.
Funds given to districts under the revenue sharing scheme go to community income generating projects and social service infrastructure such as schools and health facilities.
Through such initiatives, UWA seeks to interest these communities in management of wildlife areas leading to sustainable management of wildlife resources in protected areas.
Kamuntu said that in addition, communities benefit directly from the national parks by accessing resources such as fuel wood, grass, water, fish and bee keeping.
Kamuntu said that Police together with other relevant authorities are pursuing last week killings of lions and that perpetrators of the “heinous act will face the full extent of the law”.
Killing of 11 Lions Big Blow to Uganda’s Foreign Revenue, Says Kamuntu was first posted on April 15, 2018 at 3:59 pm.
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