By Bryan Muhoozi
Poaching is a major problem hindering development and growth of tourism in Uganda. Regarded as one of the deadliest wildlife crimes, this illegal hunting of animals has endangered some species to the verge of extinction killing the magic of a Uganda tour as some species stay hidden in fear of poachers.
Matheniko wildlife reserve is a protected wildlife area streching from Kidepo park all the way through Bokora to Pian Upe ranked fifth among most threatened conservation areas in Uganda. Karamajongs have been poaching animals in this region for a very long time but most notably cheetahs which have been listed among the world’s most endangered species , they are hunted down for their beautiful skins that trend well on the world market used to make expensive designer bags, clothes and other accessories.
UWA park rangers today arrested three Karamajong poachers in Nakapiripirit disctrict suspected of killing a cheetah , the crack down has been ongoing for four months in which over 30 poachers have been arrested and are in custody at Moroto Central Police station. The arrested claim that they are not poaching for money but rather to eat the meat during the dry spells in Karamoja. Apart from cheetahs, other animals being hunted include gazelles, duikers, lesser kudu, Dik-Dik , oribis and warthogs which is really not good for tourists who would love to see more of these species on a Uganda tour but cant because they stay hidden most time of the day making Matheniko reserve a destination visited by a few tourists.
Poaching is a big crime whose punishment should be so severe if Uganda’s tourism sector is to grow steadily, protecting the wildlife should not only be UWA’s job but also the locals should get involved which calls for sensitization about the dangers of poaching and consequences thereof.
Good Work UWA, Keep it up