The initiatives to protect the endangered wildlife in Africa including those explored on Safaris in Uganda can greatly succeed if the local people can get direct benefits from their protection.
The local communities surrounding protected areas are known to turn into incredible protectors of wildlife that thrive in them if they start earning a living from them. It gives a reason not to engage in poaching or cutting down trees for firewood and other interests. For example, following the introduction of revenue sharing scheme with communities around Uganda Safari parks, the disposition of the local people towards conservation has turned for the better.
This community collaboration in conservation was rarely used in the past by the respective governments which in turn escalated the human wildlife conflict. But with time, the strength of this conservation technique has been appreciated and now is the centre stage of every government and private sector effort towards protection of wildlife. The lodges which are given concession to operate in protected areas are required to meet the set rules which include environmental sustainability, pay back to the locals along with absorption of local labour.
The case of Bwindi Forest National Park where gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are carried out, the population of the Mountain Gorillas known to be critically endangered world have over have been on steady rise partly because the community has realized the benefit of their protection.
This was discussed further at the Giants Conservation Forum held at Lake Victoria Serena on Oct 6th 2017. The Executive Director Uganda Tourism Board Mr. Stephen Asiimwe disclosed new concession opportunities in the National Parks of Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo Valley and Kibale for high end eco lodges that would meet the government conservation guidelines especially towards environmental responsible and sustainable practices. Other sites include Budongo Forest Reserve and Kyambura Wildlife Reserve.
The intention is to increase the private sector presence in the conservation world so as to supplement on the government’s effort towards protection of endangered species. Such private investments like lodges do not only create market for local produce but also provides jobs for the local people. This will in turn enhance sustainability of the tourism product and increase the volume of travelers taking up vacation holiday safaris to Uganda.