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Save Budongo, elephants

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th November 2002 03:00 AM

THE NEW Vision has exposed two issues of major environmental concern. Today we give an expose of how indiscriminate logging of mahogany and other wood species is posing great damage to Budongo Forest species

THE NEW Vision has exposed two issues of major environmental concern. Today we give an expose of how indiscriminate logging of mahogany and other wood species is posing great damage to Budongo Forest species

THE NEW Vision has exposed two issues of major environmental concern. Today we give an expose of how indiscriminate logging of mahogany and other wood species is posing great damage to Budongo Forest species.

On Sunday we revealed how the Minister of Tourism, Edward Rugumayo, intervened at the last minute and directed the Uganda delegation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) summit to vote against lifting the ban on ivory trade. The Uganda delegation reportedly wanted the ban lifted. The 14-year ban has helped increase elephant populations in Africa. Lifting it would encourage massive poaching. President Yoweri Museveni recently said Uganda must stop the trade in animal species.

What is puzzling is that in both cases, officials who are tasked with implementing government policy are taking it upon themselves to do the contrary.

In the case of Budongo Forest in Masindi district, a report by a British researcher says excessive logging of Budongo Forest will have damaging consequences to endangered species. With over 300 bird species, 600 chimpanzees, 866 plant species and 419 species of butterflies and moths, the World Wide Fund For Nature has classified Budongo among one of the 200 most valuable ecological regions in the world.

The report says some forest officers collaborate in the illegal activities, with the racket tracing back to the Forestry headquarters. There have been earlier reports implicating the foresters, which have been denied by the Forest authorities.

Government must act fast to protect the ecological balance of Budongo Forest by cracking hard on illegal logging. The country is losing timber, wildlife, traditional medicines and a tourist destination.

Save Budongo, elephants

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