Implementing park action plans for community engagement to tackle IWT: Project research report
Between 2014 and 2017, with support from the UK Government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the University of Oxford and the Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda programme, undertook research to explore the drivers, scale and scope of wildlife crime, and the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing it.
This research showed that while poverty was one driver of illegal hunting and wildlife trade, resentment about high levels of human wildlife conflict also influenced behaviour. The research also found that activities designed to mitigate this were likely to lead to reductions in wildlife crime.
Although the Uganda Wildlife Authority has a community conservation programme to address issues such as human wildlife conflict and improve engagement, it has traditionally been hampered by limited resources and varying support. There is also often limited coordination between UWA and NGOs working around national parks to support community-based interventions to tackle wildlife crime. In order to improve the situation, the research team worked with UWA to develop National park level action plans for tackling wildlife crime. A key focus of these was striking a better balance between UWA-led law enforcement and community engagement activities, as well as integrating all activities aimed to address wildlife crime under single strategic plans.
The Implementing park action plans for community engagement to tackle IWT project was subsequently developed to test the implementation of these plans as a means of measuring their effectiveness and providing further evidence regarding the potential for greater investment in community engagement as a means of addressing wildlife crime in and around Uganda’s national parks. The purpose of this report is to evaluate the evidence collected as part of the project and to examine any impacts the project may have had at key stages.