The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), through support from Usaid/Uganda Tourism for Biodiversity Programme (T4B), has donated road construction equipment worth $ 1,333,823(about sh4.8b) to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
By Carol Kasujja and Norah Mukimba
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)’s Biodiversity Programme has donated road construction equipment worth $ 1,333,823(about sh4.8b) to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
The equipment was handed over by Shawna Hirsch, Environment Unit leader USAID and Sam Mwandha, senior Programme officer, Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to UWA’s Executive Director, Dr Andrew Sseguya.
The construction equipment which included a grader, a bulldozer, an excavator, a vibro roller, 2 tippers and 1 low bed transporter will help UWA open and maintain more roads within protected areas.
The good road system will enable easier ecological monitoring and patrols which will address illegal activities especially in Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls National Parks where poaching remains a threat.
“In the last three years, we have been working with UWA to improve park management and we are certain that this road equipment will address several challenges and ease accessibility for both deployment and monitoring. We are aware UWA has not received any brand new road equipment for over a decade and what they have were increasingly becoming a liability due to their high maintenance costs,” said Mwandha.
UWA’s Executive director Andrew Sseguya said apart from opening and maintaining roads for monitoring and patrols, the equipment will also be used for fire management by opening up fire breaks, and human wildlife conflict mitigation through digging of trenches to deter elephants and other large mammals from getting out of the parks.
Executive Director,UWA Andrew Seguya(L) and the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Heritage, Patrick Mugoya after flagging off the road equipment donated to Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA) on October 21, 2015. Photo/Hajarah Nalwadda
“Without good roads, management of the protected areas becomes difficult, more expensive and threats to wildlife increase as the staff are unable to address them in a timely manner. Activities such as patrols and monitoring are often hardest hit. It is necessary that a number of roads to be used for deploying patrols and undertaking various monitoring activities be opened and maintained,” Sseguya noted.
Sseguya also noted that the new equipment will also be handy in the excavation of water dams, particularly in Kidepo Valley National Park, which will keep the wildlife in the protected areas from straying into community land in search of water points.
Addressing guests, Shawna Hirsh, the equipment will help UWA Improve a network of monitoring tracks, as well as roads and fire lines, ultimately improving biodiversity management in areas of biological significance, and enable easier monitoring of illegal activities in the protected areas.
The minister of tourism, Maria Mutagamba, noted in her speech that with the new equipment, they will improve visitor experience and minimize the incidences of elephants raiding the crops of communities.
The ministry of tourism permanent secretary, Peter Mugoya read the speech on her behalf.
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