BY JOACKIM KULE
The Uganda Wildlife Research and Training Institute in Kasese district successfully organized its inaugural annual research symposium, aiming to unite wildlife researchers in sharing their nature-related findings to advance wildlife conservation efforts across the country.
The symposium, held at the institute’s premises in Katwe-Kabatooro Town Council, Busongora County South, attracted a diverse range of conservation partners. The event revolved around the theme “Linking Research Policy and Practice for Wildlife Conservation in Uganda.”
Hon. Martin Mugara Bahinduka, the State Minister of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, presided over the symposium and expressed concern about the escalating cases of human-wildlife conflict. Notably, over 7,000 cases were recorded in 2022 alone.
The minister emphasized the necessity of extensive public awareness campaigns to underscore the importance of wildlife to the national economy.
He further urged researchers to prioritize applied research on the prevalence of invasive species, particularly those observed within Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Minister Mugara underscored the destructive impact of invasive wildlife on indigenous breeds, emphasizing the need to address this issue for the long-term sustainability of game reserves in the country.
Prof. John M. Kasenene, the Deputy Vice Chancellor responsible for Academic Affairs and Outreach at the Mountains of the Moon University, expressed his satisfaction with the enhanced focus on wildlife research.
He emphasized the potential economic contributions that wildlife research could bring by generating employment opportunities, particularly in the form of tour guides.
Mr. Eliphaz Muhindi Bukombi, the Kasese District Chairperson, encouraged researchers from various educational institutions to regularly disseminate their findings to the public. By doing so, communities would gain insights into effective approaches for mitigating human-wildlife conflicts in their localities.
Mr. Robert Baluku, the Principal Instructor at the Uganda Wildlife Research and Training Institute, lauded the government’s increased funding allocation for the institute, from 3 billion to 5.1 billion shillings. This funding boost would facilitate the institute’s operations and bolster research capabilities.