OF BUTTERFLIES AND LIFESPANS

A butterfly lives for only a few days, utmost a month for a big butterfly unless it is a monarch which lives for an average of nine months; still a short life span compared to us. A butterfly will still live joyfully capturing many tourists despite its short life span. This got me thinking about each moment in our long life; our life span is longer than a butterfly’s but how we trivialize it.

We pass through life without a spark in our eyes, without a mark on this world, and once we are gone, we are forgotten as fast we lived and left. Life is precious and we should give ourselves a chance to shine. We should not let stress affect our beauty too since we live longer than a butterfly, we should have more impact on our planet, leave a legacy that will span for generations to come.

Thanks to the efforts of Conservation NGOs like UWS (Uganda Wildlife Society), Nature Uganda, CSWCT (Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust and UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority, there is hope for later, however, let us all rise together, we can achieve more, let the burden for conserving the planet not be left to a few organizations or people let us all get involved. Together we can.

Written by Sande Didas, a student at Makerere University, BSC (Conservation Biology) and an Intern and member at UWS, edits by Aine Anne UWS.

We all own it, lets fight for it!

Conservation of the environment

Natural resources form the backbone of many developing economies Uganda inclusive.
With the alarming ever increasing population of over 34.8 million people, this impacts negatively on the environment and its natural systems such as the biodiversity/ plants, animals, birds, human beings.
The development of human beings greatly depends on these systems and as a result a lot of efforts to preserve the environment are needed so as to preserve the entire planet earth.
According to the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGS 2009), budget of the republic of Uganda, conservation of the Wetlands and all the eco systems was given a very important priority so as to achieve the goal of creating very conducive environment now and in the future.
And therefore, in order to achieve these goals there needs to be working partnerships between the government, civil societies, donor agencies, ministries, and individual efforts among community members need to be encouraged and to formulate laws that can govern and conserve the environment for the survival of the planet for future generations.

SO HOW CAN WE CONSERVE THE ENVIRONMENT?


Environment can be conserved in various ways, such as; tree planting, conservation of wetlands, harmonization of communities to co-exist with wildlife through eco-tourism, promoting energy saving technologies, promote soil conservation technologies and water conservation technologies. Soil conservation technologies include sustainable farming methods like crop rotation, mixed cropping, farrowing and agro-forestry among others then water conservation technologies include digging trenches in gardens to control soil erosion, water harvesting technologies like harvesting water from trees among others. These can be achieved by formulating bye-law and policies that promote conservation practices and these can be reinforced by formulation of advocacy policies that influence the community and also through community initiative programs to check up on bad conservation practices such as bush burning, poaching, over grazing which practices affect terrestrial life and also destroys the species of animals.
Most people wonder what needs to be conserved for the environment to stay safe, and often what is considered are trees, soil, land animals and we often forget the birds in the air and the aquatic life. So what needs to be conserved?
Animals and birds
The ecosystem contains both animals and birds and these on a large scale need to be conserved for the benefit of the environment. Birds have several species too just like plant life and these birds contribute to pollination which in turn supports plant life, the symbiotic relationships with animals (pest control) an example is cows and doves- egrets feed off ticks from cows which in turn saves the cows from the diseases caused by the ticks, they can also predict weather an example is doves which predict seasonal changes and they also are a source of income through tourism(bird watching) which is a common pass time for tourists and these therefore, form the backbone of the economies of which they exist.
Land systems and swamps
Wetlands are a natural habitat for some animals (micro- organisms like earth worms)- these add organic matter to the soil, they aerate soil and add nutrients back to the soil when they die, birds( crested cranes) – they contribute to tourism and control populations of snakes and rats which they feed on , wetlands are breeding grounds for fish (Mud fish and other type of fish breed from there) – these are sources of food for people around wetlands and plant life (Papyrus)- for making handicraft materials which are a source of income.
Conservation is not a one man’s responsibility; it is all our duty, the environment belongs to all of us, fight for what actually belongs to you.

Written by Adikini Fiona, Volunteer UWS; Edited by Anne Aine. UWS

Conservation Part 2

Between February 2013 and April 2013, UWS supplied standard fishing gears to the fisher folk in 9 beach management units (BMUs) in Buliisa.The fisher folk and BMUs in turn signed an MOU to adhere to appropriate fishing practices and restore the fish breeding sites in the Lake Albert.

More on technology, to date, UWS has established six tree nurseries and in these, over 27,000 seedlings of five species are being raised. In collaboration with Buliisa District Local Government, UWS has planted trees in five hectares of privately owned land. The target for tree planting by end of this year is 750 hectares of privately owned land and by 830 households.

Policy influence, Advocacy and Networking at UWS

This year, the Society has so far conducted two public policy dialogues, one of these in collaboration with Environmental Alert and the Makerere University School of Forestry. On the 22nd of February 2013, UWS convened a Public Policy Dialogue at Hotel Africana. Dr. John Makombo, the Director of Conservation at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) was the key speaker.

The day’s theme was How Best Can Uganda’s Wildlife and, Communities Adjacent to Protected Areas Co-Exist in Harmony? Dr.Makombo gave an over view of protected areas /wildlife in Uganda, their contribution to economy and livelihoods, conservation challenges including human-wildlife conflicts and strategies UWA is using to address these and, partnerships involved.

Dr. Makombo’s presentation was followed by that of UWS given by Joel Buyinza, highlighting  UWS research findings, experiences and park adjacent communities consultation. Joel mentioned that simple actions like allowing communities access resources like grass, firewood, poles, papyrus, fish and to plant trees and keep bees in the protected area buffer zones (Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo Forest and Bugungu Wildlife Reserves) will go long way into providing incentives to elicit their support and participate in protected areas conservation. The Society has submitted to UWA and is following up on the signing and operationalisation of the above resources access MOUs Buliisa communities developed.