Uganda is among the richest countries in Africa in terms of biological diversity, an endowment that bears local, regional, and global significance. It contains over 1,000 species of both birds and butterflies and roughly half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. Additionally, Uganda is home to such endangered species as the African elephant, rhinoceros, chimpanzee, lion, pangolin, and shoebill stork. Such biodiversity bolsters economic activity through nature tourism, which directly contributed roughly $750 million in 2017 to the national economy, and also supports a burgeoning botanical pharmaceutical industry. Despite its critical importance to the country’s economic growth, however, Uganda’s wildlife has declined significantly over the past 50 years. Among the main contributors to this decline is human-wildlife conflicts, including poaching, crop raiding, and opportunistic killings.
Over the past decade, Uganda has become one of the most important transit hubs in the global illegal wildlife trade, particularly the elephant and hippopotamus ivory trade. To illustrate the scale of Uganda’s involvement, between 2009 and 2014, 20 metric tons of ivory were trafficked through Uganda. Uganda is also an important source and transit country in the illegal trade in pangolin scales, accounting for seven percent of source-country seizures between 2007 and 2015. Uganda’s relatively low poaching rates compared to neighboring countries suggests that traffickers are moving wildlife products from source countries to Uganda and consolidating them there before flying them to demand countries. Combined, these elements present significant challenges for Uganda, not only for conservation, but also for governance, economic growth, and national, regional, and international security. U.S. Mission Uganda and the Ugandan Wildlife Conservation Education Center (UWEC) are excited to partner together for this event to bring technological solutions to the issue of wildlife trafficking in Uganda, to support innovative conservation efforts at UWEC and the African continent.
September 15-16, 2018
Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center (UWEC) and Entebbe Zoo,
Plot 56-7 Lugard Avenue
Important Registration Information: When registering, participants should indicate whether they will need accommodations at UWEC for the weekend or not. There is space available to bring sleeping bags and stay in the conference hall where the Zoohackathon will be hosted, but UWEC also has their own accommodations (bandas, apartments, hostels) available for a fee. For additional information or if you have any questions, please email KampalaZoohackathon@state.gov.