With the remarkable number of animal and bird species, human wildlife conflict has led to poisoning and hunting down of these animals by poachers and the local people and hence an urgent need to address this challenge for sustainable conservation and tourism activities.
There have been a number of previous incidents where lions in Queen Elizabeth national park were believed to have been poisoned.
In April 2018, 11 lions including 8 cubs were found dead after a suspected poisoning. A similar incident led to the death of 5 lions in May 2010. The most recent incident being this year’s six lions were found dead and dismembered after a suspected poisoning in one of Uganda’s most famous savannah parks, Queen Elizabeth.
The corpses (dead lions) were found in Queen Elizabeth national park with several of their body parts missing and these included heads and paws which had been hacked off. To many peoples dismay, the dead bodies were surrounded by dead vultures which justifies the findings that indeed the lions had been poisoned. In a statement released, UWAS communication manager Bashir Hangi said they were ‘saddened’ by the killings. He added that nature tourism is an important part of Uganda’s economy, contributing about 10% of its GDP,and plays a vital role in the conservation of animals.
Wildlife in Queen Elizabeth is therefore facing a crisis with threats ranging from poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Habitats loss, human wildlife conflicts and climate change. From tree climbing lions listed as most vulnerable to pangolins, vultures, and many creatures are sliding towards extinction yet each of them is too vulnerable to lose and essential to the ecological balance of nature not just for the wildlife but for the future of humans and the planet.
Something so archaic as hunting and poaching should have been squashed long time ago but it’s not too late, we still got a chance to protect these species from extinction with consorted efforts if given support in the wake of the fight against poaching, poisoning and need to conserve these animals for the generations to come.
Sustainable tourism is built around four pillars of tourism, economic sustainability, ecological sustainability, cultural sustainability and local sustainability.
All four of these elements must be addressed if we are to achieve sustainable tourism of which the component of local sustainability has not been addressed in Queen Elizabeth national park
Most of the people living in areas of Ishasha-queen Elizabeth national park live below the poverty line thus declared as poor, these means that these people have limited or no access to basic human needs. Of the total population of areas adjacent to queen Elizabeth national park, not more 10% benefits from tourism directly. This leaves most of the people disadvantaged thus not being able to bring basic human needs to themselves yet wild animals raid their crops and domestic animals hence ending up in activities against conservation like poisoning and poaching of the wild animals.