This region of Uganda is almost 2,000 square miles of wilderness that is home to the likes of hippo, elephant, and lions, of which in the case of the lions, uniquely spend most of their day in trees.
Established in 1952, the Queen Elizabeth National Park boarders Congo, and because of this, had a long history of poaching and human/wildlife conflict. Despite the laws in Uganda against wildlife poaching, the laws in Congo aren’t so strict and corruption is rife in the country. Therefore, if any poachers can kill an animal and get back across the border in the park then they effectively get away with the crime.
The other big issue has been human/wildlife conflict. This is something that the boys experienced first-hand during their time at the park. A lioness killed three goats belonging to a local community, which caused great outrage among the locals and saw them wanting revenge. The reason for the conflict is that human populations are growing around the outskirts of the park and are now filtering in, meaning that animals and humans are now living side by side. Of course, the lions don’t know they can’t eat the goats which are an easy food source, so they prey on them and in retaliation, the lions are poisoned by the locals. The worst case of this saw eight lions in a single pride killed by poisoning.
Sadly, funding for the anti-poaching efforts isn’t great, so the rangers only have small moped motorcycles to travel around the park on. This runs the risk of them being injured by animals and also not being able to help animals in the right way.
The Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre do offer support and try to help where they can, but this is where the funding we are doing to send an anti-poaching vehicle on behalf of Drive 4 Wildlife, the Zoological Society of Hertfordshire, the Big Cat Sanctuary and Motor Vision is so vital to stop the poaching of animals in Uganda.