Outrage Over Uganda’s Re-introduction of Sport Hunting

Ssesse Island Sitatunga HuntedConservationists are taken aback over Uganda’s re-introduction of sport hunting in selected areas outside of designated protected areas. Conservationists from Nature Uganda and WildlifeDirect voiced their concerns over Uganda’s claim that they have enough wildlife to sustainably practice this consumptive use of wildlife. Ben Simon of AFP has the complete story.

Uganda under fire over legalized big game hunting

By Ben Simon (AFP)

KAMPALA — Outraged conservationists said on Wednesday that Uganda had neither enough game nor adequate control mechanisms to reintroduce sport hunting on animals such as elephant and buffalo.

Animal and environmental protection groups were angered by the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s (UWA) decision to sell shooting licences in a bid to boost tourism revenue.

“I do not believe that Uganda has enough game animals to sustain sport hunting,” Samuel Maina, of Nairobi-based WildlifeDirect, told AFP.

UWA spokeswoman Lillian Nsubuga said population levels had recovered from years of war in some areas and argued that ending the decades-old ban would contain crop-crunching elephants and buffalos while creating jobs.

Maina voiced doubts that the 90 percent loss of the large mammal population during the unstable 70s and 80s had been reversed.

“Sport hunting is thus likely to be unsustainable in the designated hunting areas and there is a likelihood that to sustain this lucrative sector, Uganda will have to extend hunting into protected areas,” he said.

Achilles Byaruhanga of Nature Uganda, a Kampala-based advocacy group, also judged the initiative to be dangerous because it is impossible to know the real strength of big game populations.

“I would want to ask UWA: Where is your data and your information coming from? Just because some animals have moved out of a wildlife reserve doesn’t mean their numbers are strong enough for sport hunting,” he told AFP.

UWA chief Moses Mapesa said that big game hunting was happening already and that the plan was simply for Uganda to benefit from it.

“In the absence of controlled hunting we have had a loss of animals and a loss of potential revenue,” he said.

But Byaruhanga argued that the reintroduction of legal hunting was unlikely to stop illegal hunting by needy local communities or create enough guide jobs to provide a viable alternative.

Maina also warned that Uganda had not proven it had the capacity to control the hunting effectively.

“Hunting-law enforcement is going to be difficult when new hunting blocks are opened. I doubt UWA has enough personnel and machinery to prevent abuse of the hunting licenses and concessions,” he said.

Maina also argued that sport hunting was incompatible with the east African country’s current attempts to enhance its international image as a destination for ecotourism, with gorillas the main attraction.

“Ecotourism and sport hunting are more or less mutually exclusive. Ecotourists do not want to go to places where wildlife is being killed,” he told AFP.

“The growth of sport hunting tourism will give Uganda a bad name as an ecotourism destination and is thus likely to reduce earnings from ecotourism including gorilla tracking,” he added.

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  1. Pirjo,Finland
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Won’t this exploitation of wildlife ever end in the hands of greedy people.. I personally can not think of more disgusting image than that of a grinning white man with his gun next to a killed animal..

  2. Posted October 15, 2009 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    This is nothing but pure greed on the part of a few in the Ugandan government. They’ll be flooded with wealthy American and European hunters who will take advantage of every animal moving. That photo says it all …


  3. Posted October 15, 2009 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    There are few sights more sickening in Tourism, than wealthy foreigners killing beautiful animals for their ‘pleasure’
    And there is a direct link between hunting tourism and other infamous, exploitative types of tourism – where money flows & anything goes. Uganda Widlife Authority should rethink this decision, at a time when the whole world is moving towards a greener direction.

  4. Dana-Phoenix Arizona
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t say it better than the three posters above. I for one will not visit any Country where sports huntings is re-introduced.

  5. Brenton H
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Arent they really brave those guys with guns killing wildlife? I will be blunt! To me they are the scum of the earth! I apologise if I offend anyone!

  6. Pirjo,Finland
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I’ve been dreaming of visiting the mountain gorillas and was thinking that Uganda is safer than Congo for viewing the gorillas. In the light of this information about Uganda permitting trophy hunting I won’t take my money to Uganda, but will wait and hopefully will be able to visit Congo’s gorillas instead.

    Brenton, no need to apologise, for I totally agree with you.Some humans don’t deserve to exist on this beautiful planet for the bad things they are doing..

  7. Posted October 16, 2009 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your comments friends. I feel the way you do. That picture up there I got from a site that is promoting hunting in Uganda and other parts of Africa. I cant imagine what goes on in the minds of those who make business killing wild animals.

    In other news, I found a blog post that says that Uganda didn’t lift the ban on hunting (the blogger asked UWA) saying that AFP erred in saying Uganda lifted the ban. Here is the post http://nwadhams.typepad.com/nwadhams/2009/10/dont-believe-what-you-read.html

    What this confirms for me is that Uganda didn’t lift the ban, but they expanded the hunting quotas and expanded the areas under hunting therefore hoodwinking us that the ban is still on while they are selling hunting licenses. I don’t know what is worse.

  8. Katherine
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I can now cross Uganda off my list of wildlife travel destinations.

  9. Douglas at ITFC
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Greetings all.

    I did a blog about this on the bwindiresearchers (wildlifedirect) site July 6th.

    While I agree with the reactions above I think the real story is more complex, perhaps I can even say ‘positive’. I can see both sides but let me summarise the opposing view:

    I visited the area (around Lake Mburo NP)and was perusaded that the hunting scheme does seem to lead to local land-owners being much more tolerant of wildlife on their land. In consequence animals numbers have markedly increased on this area. Lions have even returned to the park.

    I am a vegetarian, but I am not sure if I find game ranching any worse to cattle ranching. Indeed, perhaps it is better.

    I do not have a final answer but as long as UWA lack sufficient resources to manage all the countries wildlife I would hope to give them the benefit of the doubt as they explore new alternatives to see which are effective for conservation. They have committed people doing a difficult job.

    You’ll see on my blog that many readers were also positive. I am genuinely interested to see if these diverse viewpoints (also in my own head) can be reconciled.

    Best wishes

  10. panthera pardus
    Posted October 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Tracked Bwindi gorillas and Kibale chimps in Uganda 2003 and saw Big Five in QE NP. Charmed by local people and schoolchildren. BUT trophy hunting sentient precious animals is indefensible and Uganda, Winston Churchill’s Pearl of Africa should know better. In effect UWA are saying “Poaching is happening already so if we can’t beat them let’s join them and commit yet more wildlife crime even though we at UWA are supposed to be protecting our precious safari tourist dollars earning wildlife”. So suggest all those against this potential carnage EMAIL uwa.or.ug to protest. Have a look at Youtube video of 5 hunters being attacked by a male lion they shot badly if you are in any doubt about the immorality and perverted cruelty of big game hunting. It’s not sport!

  11. neville
    Posted October 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    UGH-anda !

  12. Rebecca, Australia
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Appalling. Those photos of grinning cowards next to the murdered animals sicken me to death. Put them out there without a gun and see how they fair then.

    I’m visiting Tanzania next year. I am of course 100% against the hunting that goes on there. HOWEVER, if all us ecotourists stop visiting a country, then they will simply resign to the fact that hunting is the ONLY way to raise revenue and they may give up on ecotourists altogether. We have to pitch in and support camps, lodges and companies within these countries who do not support hunting. Therefore, I was careful which camps I chose in Tanzania and am aware of the ones owned by hunting outfitters.

    I can’t say I would be much happier supporting a lax Kenyan government by spending my tourism dollars there either – there are pros and cons to visiting any country in the world.

    I could advise people to stop visiting Australia due to the biggest wildlife slaughter on earth that takes place here – kangaroos. I may refuse to visit Canada based on their seal slaughter. We may to bypass the USA because they torture primates in labs.

    EVERY country is doing bad things to wildlife, animals and the environment.

    It is up to us to support the good people, the people who are fighting to change things. We can’t let a whole country down due to the greed of a minority.

  13. Posted April 8, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Disgusting…Some humans are not fit to live!

  14. Born to HUNT
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    1.Sport hunting can bring a huge amount of money into a country. The “Daily Rate” that a hunter here pays is about $1,000 on top of permit fees, lodging, transportation, etc.
    2.In Tanzania, one study showed that 600 hunters per year bring the same amount of money into the country as 200,000 game viewers (people who go on a non-hunting safari). That is a lot of money that can be used for wildlife management. [and possibly a lower overall impact on wildlife given the smaller numbers]
    3.The idea behind all “Wildlife Use Rights” is to put a value on wildlife. If local villagers can earn significant revenue by supporting sport hunting, they will want wildlife numbers to increase and will be less likely to allow poaching on their lands.
    4.Hunting companies pay $10,000 – $30,000 for each “hunting block” per year depending on the country. Tanzania has about 120 of these blocks, so it is a significant source of income.

    Hunters are conservationists!!!!

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  1. […] as is usually the case, a passionate discussion erupted here at Baraza following a post about Uganda’s sport hunting plan. While I believe that Uganda’s plan to get into sport hunting is unwise, not all agreed with […]

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