News24

Uganda ends game hunting ban

2009-10-13 13:22

Kampala - Uganda is lifting a decades-old ban on big game hunting to boost tourism revenue and contain herds of crop-crunching elephants, buffalos and zebras, the wildlife service said Tuesday.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) spokesperson Lillian Nsubuga said a deal had been agreed authorising a private company to sell sport hunting licenses in some areas of the east African country.

"We have entered into a tripartite agreement with Uganda Wildlife Safaris and several district governments and we believe local people will benefit and make some good money," Nsubuga said.

She added that licenses will only be issued for areas not currently designated as wildlife reserves.

In central Uganda, much of the wildlife was decimated during a 1981-1986 civil war that brought the current government to power, while in parts of northern Uganda, the Lord's Resistance Army insurgency gave poachers free rein, prompting a ban on sport hunting.

Nsubuga claimed that in certain districts several populations, particularly elephant and buffalo, have recovered to the point where they are now a burden to local farmers, disrupting cattle grazing routes and damaging crops.

Benefit from the animals

Tanzania is the only other country where big game hunting is legal.

"There is now enough wildlife in some areas to support carefully managed hunting," Nsubuga explained. "We want local communities to benefit from these animals, and of course sport hunting is one way."

Uganda Wildlife Safaris is expected to target high-income foreign tourists.

A percentage of the revenue generated from the sale of licenses will go to individual landowners and community development funds.

District residents, who for years have been hunting illegally, will be employed as guides, according to UWA.