About the Organization
The Uganda Carnivore Program is dedicated to the research and conservation of lions, leopards and hyenas in the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National
Park, which is located in southwest Uganda. In addition to scientific research and monitoring activities, an important component of the conservation
activities involves working closely with the local communities to improve human-wildlife coexistence.
The Conservation Challenge
The worldwide populations of lions, leopards, and hyenas have declined significantly over the past several years, due mainly to the growing needs of
an expanding human population. Habitat loss due to human settlement and agriculture development, loss of prey population, and retaliatory killing
by humans following livestock depredation are their main threats in Africa.
The situation with the predators of Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park typifies many of the issues facing predators in other parts of Africa. Growing
human populations in villages within the park, and many others just outside park boundaries, cause a great deal of pressure on the human and wildlife
population, resulting in both human-wildlife conflict and sustainable development challenges.
The Park’s carnivores are facing a population crisis, primarily due to their close proximity to these human settlements. The large territorial ranges
of most carnivores, as well as their protein-based diet, mean they often compete with humans for space and food.
Research and Monitoring
UCP takes a multi-disciplinary approach to conserving the Park’s carnivore populations including formulating recommendations regarding appropriate
management for predators, assisting the wildlife authority in conflict mitigation & rescue or relocation operations, tracking, via radio-telemetry,
certain lions and leopards in the park in order to monitor their movements, territories, risky encounters, and, particularly, their incursions
into conflict “hot zones”, where they face the danger of meeting up with people and their livestock. They also maintain a comprehensive large carnivore
database for the northern sector of QENP and establish, analyze and project large carnivore biodynamics & provide population viability analysis.
By developing activities that increase the local communities’ voice and participation in wildlife conservation, UCP encourages and fosters community
involvement and awareness. They also provide education outreach to the communities and other stakeholders about large carnivores, including their
significance to the ecosystem and conflict prevention measures and community socio-economic development via participation in ecotourism and other
Oakland Zoo Takes Action
Oakland Zoo’s Docent Volunteers raised funds to establish a Community Education Center in one of the villages bordering the Park. Leopard Village is a
community-run socio-economic development initiative that supports cultural and wildlife conservation through ecotourism. The Center includes replicas
of traditional huts, a library for village children, and a meeting space for community members to come together to discuss resolutions to human-wildlife
conflict. The villagers also present information about their rich cultural traditions to tourists to the area, including sharing folk tales and knowledge
about their pastoral and agricultural livelihoods, performing traditional songs and dances, and selling locally-made handicrafts.
Oakland Zoo’s Conservation Grant has provided funds for lion monitoring activities.
Our teen and adult ecotours to Uganda spend time with UCP staff in Queen Elizabeth National Park, gaining invaluable insight into the challenges facing
both the human and wildlife populations in this biologically diverse part of Africa.
Volunteer and Staff expertise: The Zoo’s volunteers and staff provide guidance and support for UCP’s conservation education and outreach work with
the local communities and schools in Uganda.
You Can Take Action Too
- Travel with Oakland Zoo on our next ecotour to Uganda and Rwanda and learn more about these issues first hand. Email Amy Gotliffe for more information.
- If you plan to visit Uganda on your own, contact Uganda Carnivore Program/UCP and ask
about opportunities to volunteer with the local communities or how you can participate in a lion-tracking experience.
- When traveling, always buy locally-made goods so that the local communities can benefit from the wildlife they live next to.
- Contact Uganda Carnivore Program/UCP in order to learn how you can organize a lion fundraiser
or if you are interested in establishing a pen-pal program between your school and one of the village schools in Uganda that UCP works with.
- Read more about human-wildlife conflict and get inspired to come up with other ideas on how you can help!