UWA DOUBLES COMMUNITY SHARE FROM EACH SOLD GORILLA PERMIT
(Posted 16th March 2015)
The announcement over the last weekend by the Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority Dr. Andrew Seguya, that effective 01st of July this year the community share from each sold gorilla tracking permit in Bwindi will be doubled, evoked swift reactions of support and appreciation.
The previous amount of 5 US Dollars per sold permit generated some 266 million Uganda Shillings for the year 2014, which was released to the community representatives to be used for approved projects aimed to better the living standards of local inhabitants whose villages border Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It is here that nearly half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas are found.
The doubling of the community share money is expected to raise more than 500 million US Dollars for the year 2015 for the parishes in Kinkiizi District which are adjoining the park. The recent loss of value of the Shilling against the US Dollar to around 3.000 UShs versus one US Dollar is likely to further boost the amount set aside in local currency and the windfall will no doubt help to further boost local capacity for better health and educational services, provision of clean water and income generating projects which can become self-sustainable after given a kickstart with seed money from the UWA funds.
One of the major benefits of sharing income with local communities is to give the villagers some real benefits from Uganda’s gorilla tourism activities and turn them into allies against poaching.
Well done UWA! Now that communities are benefiting from tourism, how about convincing them to reduce encroachment on the national park land. Queen Elizabeth NP is almost loosing most parts of Kasenyi Area land to local communities.