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Uganda is a landlocked country in east-central Africa, full of mountains, rivers, lakes and forests, all drenched in abundant rainfall. Winston Churchill famously waxed lyrical about it, saying “…for magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life – plant, bird, insect, reptile, and beast – for the vast scale… Uganda is truly the ‘Pearl of Africa’”.
Bordered in the south by Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, Uganda contains the fabled “Mountains of the Moon” – the ice-capped Rwenzori Mountains. The country contains a huge diversity of habitats from tropical and afro-montane forests, to savannahs and wetlands.
In fact, the Convention of Biological Diversity ranks Uganda as one of the top ten countries in the world for biodiversity, particularly for mammalian diversity. The Albertine Rift which runs along the west of the country is particularly known for the large number of endemic species it supports.
In Uganda, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has developed an innovative conservation initiative aimed at integrating cultural values into the management of national parks, focused on the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Mburo National Park.
In addition, through FFI’s active involvement in the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, we are helping to conserve mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
FFI is working to build local support for protected areas through innovative initiatives at the Lake Mburo and Rwenzori Mountains National Parks within the Albertine Rift. We aim to show that integration of local cultural values into park management can improve relations between park staff and neighbouring communities, resulting in more effective conservation. Results so far are positive – for instance, a cultural village has been constructed at Lake Mburo National Park to enable Bahima pastoralists to showcase their “beautiful cows” and to explain the cultural value of these animals to tourists and young Bahimas.
The successful conservation of rhinos in relatively small secure fenced areas has been pioneered in Kenya. FFI is financially and technically supporting the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya to conserve their rapidly growing population of over a hundred black rhinos and white rhinos. The conservancy also generates surplus animals for re-stocking other areas. We are particularly involved in an initiative to re-establish the northern white rhino. The last four breeding individuals were translocated to the conservancy from a Czech zoo in December 2009. FFI is also part of the East African Community Rhino Management Group, which exchanges expertise and rhinos between the East African range states.
As the oldest conservation organisation in East Africa, the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) has benefitted from support from FFI. It has been extremely successful in combating rhino and elephant poaching in the past, but was struggling to function by the mid 1990s. FFI has helped to rebuild EAWLS’ conservation capacity and is currently supporting them in the development of a regional conservation plan focusing on their coastal and marine programme. The overall goal is to conserve biodiversity and improve the livelihoods of coastal communities through the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in Kenya.
Fewer than 720 mountain gorillas struggle to survive in Central Africa’s forests. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme, a partnership between Fauna & Flora International, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the African Wildlife Foundation, supports transboundary protected area authorities in three countries to improve conservation of gorillas and their mountain forest habitat. The IGCP also improves local livelihoods, helping to mitigate threats to this Critically Endangered species.
In 1983 the Ugandan Government declared Lake Mburo National Park. Protecting the many species of plains game, including Uganda’s last impalas, and the rich mosaic of wooded hills, grassy valleys lakes and wetlands they roamed was important. Unfortunately, following the norms of the time, Bahima pastoralists and their unique long-horned cattle were evicted. Breaking the centuries’ old connection to the land turned the Bahima against the park and set in train a conflict that lasted for decades. The value of…Read more
There are few animals on earth as strong as the mountain gorilla, or as fragile. Mountain gorillas, numbering approximately 780 total individuals, are found in only two locations on earth- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and the Virunga Massif (comprised of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and Parc National de Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo). In 1991, Fauna & Flora International, in solidarity with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the…Read more