Local National

Government Allocates $17 Billion for Construction of State-of-the-Art Wildlife Research Institute

BY MORIS MUMBERE

KASESE: The Government of Uganda, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Tourism, has secured a funding package of $4.5 million, equivalent to 17 billion Ugandan shillings, to establish the country’s first state-of-the-art research center for applied wildlife studies.

Recognizing the need for dedicated research facilities, the government aims to address the lack of suitable spaces for conducting wildlife research in Uganda. The proposed research institute will be located in Kasese, at the Uganda Wildlife Institute. The facility will serve as a hub for professors and learners to acquire training on conducting research, while also providing guidance and resources for researchers.

Hon. Martin Mugara, the State Minister for Tourism, announced this development during the annual Wildlife Research Symposium 2023, held at the Uganda Wildlife Research and Training Institute in Katwe Kabatoro Town Council, Kasese District.

The funds were secured through a loan from the World Bank under the Competitive Enterprise Development Partner (CEDP) program, administered by the Ministry of Finance. The loan will finance the construction of the research institute’s state-of-the-art buildings, including a laboratory, anatomy and microbiology facilities, pathology units, long-handled equipment, classroom blocks, an ICT block, and a Geographic Information Centre.

“In this region, the issue of invasive species poses a significant problem, particularly in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Predatory animals like lions require adequate space, and the lack of research and action to remove invasive plants has resulted in these animals shifting their habitats,” explained Hon. Martin Mugara. “The establishment of this research institute will help mitigate human-wildlife conflicts by addressing the need for proper research and management of wildlife habitats.”

Robert Baluku, the Principal of Uganda Wildlife Research and Training Institute, highlighted that the government has increased the budget allocation for the institute from 3 billion to 5 billion shillings. This boost in funding will allow for the recruitment of additional researchers, further enhancing the institute’s research capabilities and fostering collaborations with other institutions.

Sarah Nalule, the Chairperson of the Governing Council, stated that the Uganda Wildlife Research and Training Institute was established in 2016, with an aim to forge partnerships with organizations interested in supporting the institution’s mission. She emphasized that the theme of this year’s symposium focuses on linking research to policy and practice for wildlife conservation in Uganda.

Kananura John Bosco, the LC3 Chairperson of Katwe Kabatoro Town Council in Kasese District, raised concerns about recent incidents where three individuals were killed by wild animals within a span of one and a half months. He called for increased vigilance among communities living near the national park.

Muhindi Eliphaz Bukombi, the Local Council Five Chairperson of Kasese District, emphasized the importance of research in shaping effective policies. He highlighted that without research, addressing the financing challenges and maximizing the benefits of protected areas for local communities would be difficult. He expressed confidence in the government’s commitment to ensuring the profitability of all conserved areas for the community.

With the construction of the state-of-the-art wildlife research institute, the Ugandan government aims to provide researchers with the necessary resources and infrastructure to conduct applied research, promote wildlife conservation, and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts effectively.

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