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Uganda to deploy tech, youth in wildlife conservation

Government hopes to tap into tech and youth potential in wildlife conservation

Government hopes to tap into tech and youth potential in wildlife conservation

Uganda will use the upcoming World Wildlife Day to celebrate its rich flora and fauna as well as raise awareness on application on application of technology and interventions to promote wildlife conservation.

The celebrations scheduled to be held on March 3 in Kyenjojo district, western Uganda will be presided over by President Yoweri Museveni.

Uganda harbours at least 53.9 per cent of the world's remaining mountain gorillas, 50 per cent of Africa's recorded bird species, 39 per cent of Africa’s mammals, 19 per cent of Africa's amphibian species, 14 per cent of the reptiles, 1,249 recorded species of the butterflies, 501 species of fish and 4500 species of vascular plants and for this. Little wonder that Uganda is regarded as a hotspot for biodiversity.

This year's World Wildlife Day is under the theme; ‘Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife, and the ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities hopes that exploiting the potential of technology can lead to a sustainable future and establish a harmonious relationship between the environment and its inhabitants.

According to a statement by Tourism minister Tom Butiime, the government intends to tap into the youth who have fully embraced the use of technology in their daily lives and are set to become future leaders and decision-makers of tomorrow.

This will be through youth and leverage partnerships with schools, communities, civil societies and political leaders to provide the masses with information on the use of technology in wildlife conservation such as drones, satellite tracking DNA barcoding and social media communications.

This, Butime, adds, will improve understanding of wildlife behaviour, tracking illegal wildlife trade and trafficking, predicting biodiversity threats and informing effective conservation strategies. Butime says the conservation efforts have yielded results. For instance, between 1983 and 2021, the buffalo population increased from 25,000 to 44,163, elephants rose from 2000 to 7,975, and giraffes increased from 350 to 2,072.

Similarly, the number of mountain gorillas has increased from 320 to 459 between 1999 and 2022. Rhinos which had gone extinct in the 1980s were successfully reintroduced and the initial population of 8 has successfully bred and multiplied to 32 animals.

The minister says, however, more efforts are required to halt conservation threats such as poaching, retaliatory killings, deforestation, and encroachment on wildlife habitats that affect keystone species such as chimpanzees and lions.

 

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