No effort has been spared recently to protect Uganda’s wildlife from poachers. In fact, statistics are so impressive that they show an increase in numbers of previously endangered species.
Elephant populations across the country’s national parks are growing. Even the famous mountain gorillas are finally increasing, with Uganda still hosting more than half of the entire population in the world.
The growing quantities of ivory seizures reflect vigilance against smugglers who kill elephants in neighbouring countries and try to take the trophies abroad through Uganda.
Overall, the protection of all wildlife in Uganda becomes tighter every year. As I write this, conservationists world over are celebrating the recent appointment of Sam Mwandha, a man known for his high integrity and passion for work, to head the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Uganda wildlife is unique in several ways having the highest concentration of birds species in a small space, the highest number of mountain gorillas, and tree climbing lions like only found in Manyara, Tanzania.
So things are looking good for Ugandan wildlife. But the same cannot be said for Ugandan women folk.
It seems that as the country becomes good at protecting wildlife, poachers are finding it too dangerous to continue killing big game for profit or pleasure, and have shifted attention to killing women for profit and pleasure.
Last year alone, over two dozen young women were found murdered and their bodies dumped in two localities near the capital Kampala.
These “hunters” do not even have to drive far into the wild like poachers. And they also do it for pleasure – perverted pleasure. Like their fellow (game) hunters, they study the movements of their prey, wait when they are isolated such as when returning home late from work, and then they strike.
They proceed to rape them and then murder them. Lately, they have added financial gain to their hunt, to finally do better than the game hunters in all aspects.
The urban poachers of young women for sadistic pleasure have upped their macabre game and first demand money from the victim’s family, collect it, then kill them.
Recently they kidnapped a rich man’s daughter and tortured her by cutting her fingers and sending to her family for three weeks, after their demand for $1m was not met. After getting $200,000, they murdered her and dumped her mutilated body near Kampala.
More women have been kidnapped, ransom collected from their families and eventually murdered.
The game hunters have turned to humans. They seem to be learning from the wildlife hunters actually. For it is believed that once a predator tastes human blood, it no longer wants to eat antelopes.
The human predators have now realised that they can derive more pleasure hunting down women and still make money, without having to go to the wild bushes to kill animals where vigilance by Uganda Wildlife Authority is high.
It looks like women will be preyed on by the hunters for a while. For the 30 or so women killed in recent months, only less than three suspects have been arrested and arraigned in court.
Women activists need to study how animal rights lovers did it – getting enough vigilance to secure better protection for Uganda’s wild animals.
Joachim Buwembo is a Kampala-based journalist. E-mail: [email protected]