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 News :. Animals increase in Uganda

The number of Mountain Gorillas has increased from 292 in 1995 to about 370 today. Elephants have increased from 550 in 1995 to 3,000 in 2004, buffaloes from 7,000 to 18,000, giraffes from 15 in 1995 to 320 todate and chimpanzee from 3,300 in 1997 to 4,495 in 2003.

The number of the animals is expect to increase further following the signing of a collaborative resource management agreement between Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the people of Butyaba community in Masindi district.

Lillian Nsubuga, the UWA public relations manager, said at least 50 poachers of wildlife in the district had renounced their activities and handed in their gears to UWA.

The poachers, most of whom were men, handed in 64 wire snares, 18 spears, 10 arrows, three bows and one wheel trap.

'This was a very big achievement because poaching is the biggest threat to wildlife management in Uganda and has been responsible for the sharp decline in wildlife populations since the 1970s,' Nsubuga said.

She said the signing of the agreement gives the community of 1,000 people controlled access to the resources within Bugungu Wildlife Reserve such as firewood, water, grass and poles for building.

'It is expected that with the signing of the agreement, the population will cease to kill wildlife as a means of survival,' Nsubuga said.

Over the past year, the community conservation unit in Murchison Falls conservation areas has held several sensitisation meetings with the community of Butyaba regarding the importance of conserving wildlife resources within Bugungu Wildlife Reserve, which resulted into the agreements.

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