The Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) is the entire reason we’re here and we’ve just spent the day with 2 of the team, Jimmy and Dennis. Having spent a short amount of time with them, it has become so clear that they really do extraordiinary work, and I mean extraordinary! With very limited resources and people they work so hard to take a fully holistic approach to conservation, working closely with local communities as well as the government to address human/wildlife conflict, habitat loss, invasive plant encroachment, poaching and wildlife health.
To give a few examples, they’re having a ceremony next week welcoming 21 former poachers into the fold as Ugandan Wildlife Authority rangers. However, it doesn’t stop there, they will work hard to ensure these men stay as rangers and do not revert to poaching through improving accommodation (which you can see below).
UCF also use a system called earth ranger that tracks the rangers and wildlife activity, logging incidents with animals and poachers in real time. This means they can see if an animal is straying close to villages and act immediately, steering the animals away from the village before any issues happen. It also enables them to gather evidence of poaching, often capturing poachers in the act on camera traps, which sometimes leads to an immediate arrest. All of this work has been a huge success, with elephant numbers increasing by about a hundred fold and lion populations increasing significantly.
I will be updating this blog with more fact, figures and links as time progresses, to make sure I’ve got everything right.
Needless to say, we saw more incredible wildlife, but to focus on the lions, again it is the lion project specifically that we’re here to support, there are a couple of images, that will almost certainly contribute to artworks, that will appear in the exhibition. We were also extremely luck to have an extraordinary view of a leopard, which is also shown below and will be another painting I’m sure!
Also, just in case you’d like to, you can learn more about the UCF here https://ugandacf.org/ you can donate here https://www.justgiving.com/ugandacf or if you’d prefer, you can donate via the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation here https://davidshepherd.org/
I will also be setting up a just giving page at some stage, you can also wait for that if you’d prefer.