Wildlife population increase in Uganda to intensify future conflict with humans

UWA digging deep trenches to tame marauding elephants in Oyam from Murchison Park
Elephants in Murchison National Park.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The increase in human populations and wildlife in Uganda may pose a challenge if not planned for.

To date, Uganda’s population stands at close to 43 million people, but wildlife that attracts tourists to Uganda is also on the increase.

Over the last 30 years, Uganda has registered an increase in the number of elephants from 2,000 to 6,000, mountain Gorillas in the three countries from 350 to more than 1,000 and other animals but these and others compete for land with humans.

Sam Wanda, Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] says the increase in the numbers of wildlife is an advantage to Uganda but poses a human wildlife conflict in future, because both human beings and wildlife want habitats which require land to grow.

Lilly Ajarova, Chief Executive Officer Uganda Tourism Board [UTB] is optimistic the Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] will find a better solution to mitigate the population growth challenges of animals and human beings in order to promote tourism in Uganda.

Uganda has 39 wildlife protected areas including national parks, wildlife reserves, community wildlife areas and sanctuaries. Twenty-two (22) out of the 39 protected areas are national parks and wildlife reserves, and 10 out of these are found in the Albertine region.

The national parks include Murchison Falls, Kidepo, Queen Elizabeth, the Rwenzori Mountains, Kibale, Semliki, Bwindi and Mgahinga.

The wildlife reserves include Ajai and East Madi located in the extreme north-east of the Albertine graben, Bugungu and Karuma wildlife reserves in Buliisa and Masindi districts, Tooro-Semliki, Kabwoya and Kyambura wildlife reserves in Bundibugyo, Hoima and Bushenyi respectively, and Kigezi wildlife reserve in the extreme south in Rukungiri and Kanungu districts. The area also has a number of important forest reserves including Bugoma and Budongo.

In 1980, Uganda had close to 13 million people compared to 43 million people in 2020.

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Uganda has a total land surface area of 24,103,700 million hectares of which 16.6 % [4,001,214.2 hectares] is protected land from human settlement which hosts wildlife and forests.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO], arable land is land under temporary crops (double-cropped areas are counted once), temporary meadows for mowing or for pasture, land under market or kitchen gardens, and land temporarily fallowed. Land abandoned as a result of shifting cultivation is excluded.