Did you know Uganda hosts 53.9% of the world’s population of mountain gorillas?

This was revealed by the minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Colonel (Retired) Tom R. Butime, who was addressing journalists in Kampala ahead of the World Wildlife Day.

Uganda ranks among the top most biodiversity-rich countries globally hosting 53.9% of the World’s remaining population of Mountain gorillas, 11% of the World’s recorded species of birds (which is 50% of Africa’s bird species richness) and 8% of the global mammal diversity (which is 39% of Africa’s mammal richness).

This was revealed by the minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Colonel (Retired) Tom R. Butime, who was addressing journalists in Kampala ahead of the World Wildlife Day.

Butime noted that 19% of Africa’s Amphibian species richness is also in Uganda, with 14% of Africa’s reptile species richness and 1,249 recorded species of butterflies still belonging to the pearl of Africa.

Upon this he stated that, Uganda must join the rest of the World to celebrate this significant endowment.

According to the minister, “The 2024 World Wildlife Day celebrations will, therefore, focus on raising awareness about the application of digital technologies and interventions to promote wildlife conservation and management and sharing emerging positive impacts on ecosystems and livelihoods in Uganda,”

He added that the celebrations will highlight new technological tools and related developments to complement Uganda’s efforts in safeguarding biodiversity and harnessing benefits from wild animals and plants.

“Digital innovations offer unique opportunities to redefine the connection between people and the planet. Exploiting the potential of technologies can lead our World to a sustainable future, establishing a harmonious relationship between the environment and its inhabitants,” he said,

The minister commended the youths who have embraced the use of technology in everyday life, saying that as future leaders and decision-makers, youths will continue to play a critical role in designing the future of digital wildlife conservation.

“Accordingly, the 2024 International World Wildlife Day celebrations will target the youths and leverage partnerships with other key stakeholders like schools, communities, civil society organizations, and political leaders to disseminate information on the use of technology in wildlife conservation and the need for enhanced collaboration,” he added.

The world wildlife day presents an opportunity to share efforts being made by the Government to protect and replenish the Country’s fauna and flora for the benefit of Ugandans and the global community.

According to the ministry of tourism, improved conservation has yielded promising results, with populations on a steady recovery. For instance, between 1983 and 2021, buffalo 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. The Government has successfully reintroduced Rhinos in Uganda, which had gone extinct in the early 1980s.

The initial population of 8 has successfully bred and multiplied to the current population of over 32 individuals. However, more efforts are required to halt threats such as poaching, retaliatory killings, deforestation, and encroachment on wildlife habitats.

The National World Wildlife Day Celebrations and Exhibitions will be held on March 3, 2024 at Kyenjojo, District, under the theme “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation”

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