Celebrating the World Wildlife Day 2017.
Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA) in collaboration with other conservation partners such as the Jane Goodall Institute Uganda joined the rest of world in commemorating the 4th United Nations (UN) World Wildlife Day (WWD) on 3rd March 2017 under the theme “Listen to the young voices”.
In Uganda, the National celebrations were held at Uganda Museum in Kampala district under the theme “Mainstreaming the youth in wildlife conservation”. The Chief Guest was the Rt. Hon. Gen. Moses Ali who represented the President of Uganda.
Some of the distinguished guests at the event included; the Head of the European Union delegation to Uganda H.E Kristian Schmidt, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Country Director Ms. Almaz Gebru, the President of the African Wildlife Foundation Mr. Kaddu Sebunya and others.
In line with the 2017 UNWWD theme, number of activities were conducted and different Conservation Organizations such as Eco Trust, MTWA, Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC), Ministry of Gender, Nature Uganda, Chimpanzee trust, AWF, Wildlife Clubs of Uganda (WCU) and others participated. The activities included;
Event 1: Wildlife quiz for schools; Primary schools 18th Feb, Secondary schools and Tertiary Institutions 25th Feb 2017.
R&S pupils from four schools (ST. Peter’s Nsambya, ST. Tereza, Railway and God’s Gift primary schools) together with other primary schools under WCU participated in a wildlife quiz at East Kololo primary school (P\S) in Kampala district. St. Anthony P\S emerged the winner and received cash as a prize but also all participating schools were given certificates.
Event 2: Wildlife marathon on 26th February 2017.
Different stakeholders including representatives from the Jane Goodall Institute Uganda led by Tammy Palmer (JGI Vice President Africa Programs) engaged in the five and 10 kilometers Wildlife Marathon in Kampala district.
The event preceded the3rd March World Wildlife Day celebrations under the theme “Listen to the young voices,” Ministers Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi, Minister of state for tourism and Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, launched the marathon.
Updates on the status of Uganda’s wildlife was delivered by Uganda Wildlife Authority’s Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Seguya and he said that the wildlife population numbers including elephants have progressively improved over the years and this has been possible because of the improved conservation practices of Ugandans.
Proceeds from the participants’ contributions are to support families of fallen rangers that lost their lives in line of duty.
Event 3: Public Lecture at Hotel Africana, Wednesday 1st March
In line with the global theme “Listen to the Young Voices” about 200 students from secondary schools and tertiary institutions attended the public lecture at Hotel Africana to discuss the mainstreaming of youth in wildlife conservation.
The main discussant was Dr. Lawrence Mugisha of Makerere University, Kampala. The event was attended by the Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda.
Event 4: UWEC Excursion, Thursday 2nd March
The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) granted free entry to all children to enable them experience wildlife conservation in action. Hundreds of school children including JGI Uganda’s Roots and Shoots pupils visited the centre.
The excursion was kicked off by the Hon. Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu. Members of the Tourism Ministry and representatives of conservation agencies also participated.
UWEC managed to take the participants through the behind the scenes of different activities at the Education Center such as feeding the lions. Hon Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi the Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities addressed the young people on the need to conserve wildlife and the young ones also advised him to arrest all poachers so as to save Uganda’s remaining wildlife.
Event 5: Exhibition, 1st-3rd March.
JGI Uganda together with several conservation organizations such as UWEC and Chimpanzee Trust took part in the 3 days exhibition at Uganda Museum. On 3rd March, the Chief Guest, the Rt. Hon. Gen. Moses Ali who represented the President of Uganda at the main WWD celebrations together with other delegates visited the JGI Uganda stall were they were taken through JGI activities in Uganda.
Event 6: Route March, Friday 3rd March
The Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda and the Prisons Band led hundreds of people including staff of Ministry Departments, wildlife conservation activists, students, pupils, the media and members of the public in a march from the Independence monument to the Uganda Museum. The march raised awareness about wildlife conservation and enabled participation of the youth.
Event 7: Handover of Wildlife Street, Friday 3rd March
Conservation activists after receiving the Wildlife Street.
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) handed over Kiira Road to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). The KCCA Director for Social Services Mr. Ambrose Atwoko who represented the Executive Director said the street would be named the ‘wildlife street’ in a bid to sensitise the public about wildlife conservation. Mr. Atwoko handed the street over to Dr. Andrew Seguya, the UWA Executive Director, who revealed the plan to erect sculptures of the animals in Uganda’s wildlife parks along the street. This event was attended by Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda, the MTWA Permanent Secretary Mrs. Doreen Katusiime and tourism stakeholders.
Event 8: Main event, including UWA canine unit demonstration and conservation awards.
On the main day of WWD celebrations, winning schools in the wildlife quizzes recognition were recognised, as well as people and organisations like JGI Uganda that stood out in their work of promoting wildlife conservation in Uganda.
The celebration also included a demonstration by the UWA canine unit in identifying ivory concealed in luggage.
Dr. Kasoma receiving the JGI Uganda award from the WWD celebrations Chief Guest, the Rt. Hon. Gen. Moses Ali .
Dr. Kasoma and the Hon. Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu