President Yoweri Museveni has assented to Uganda Wildlife Act 2017 that was passed by parliament early this year. When caught poachers involved in killing endangered species will face life imprisonment or pay fine of Shs20 billion or both.
The law entails wildlife User Rights: hunting, farming, ranching, trading, and educational and research and general extraction use rights. This program is based on the principle that economic benefits from wildlife can lead to better custodianship of wildlife resources.
The law reforms revenue sharing program into conditional grants to communities.
The law provides for the conservation and sustainable management of wild life, strengthen wild life conservation and management, and streamline roles and responsibilities for institutions in wildlife conservation and management.
The law provides for compensation where a person is killed, suffers bodily injury or suffers damage to his or her crops or livestock by the wild animals listed under the Fourth Schedule of the law. The listed wild animals include elephants, lions, leopards, crocodiles, buffaloes, hyenas, hippopotamus, gorillas and chimpanzees.
The new law comes with significant reforms transforming wildlife conservation in Uganda. The act provides for Community participation in wildlife management strengthened through Community Wildlife Committees for each Protected Area.
It also provides for Promotion commercialization of wildlife on private land through sustainable utilisation.
According to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Wildlife management was once the responsibility of government however concerns grew about how wildlife management would be achieved without support from district authorities, communities and the private sector and there was the need to involve other stakeholders through the act.