UWA to Assess Gorilla Permit Fraud’s Impact in 3 Months

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has requested media organizations to be cautious in reporting allegations of fraud within the Chimpanzee and Gorilla booking system to safeguard the tourism sector and Uganda’s reputation.

This request follows recent disclosures by Col. (Rtd) Tom Butime, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, acknowledging UWA’s internal audit findings of potential illegal sales of gorilla and chimpanzee tracking permits involving some staff members. These activities resulted in a financial loss of at least 500 million Shillings between June and August 2023.

Dr. Sam Mwandha, UWA’s Executive Director, expressed concern about the ongoing negative publicity, especially from international sources, and its impact on Uganda’s image. UWA plans to assess this impact in three months, coinciding with the peak tourism season from November to January.

Minister Butime also voiced his concerns and affirmed that individuals implicated in the investigation would be prosecuted to deter future misconduct.

To prevent further gorilla permit fraud, UWA has initiated the implementation of a new booking and revenue collection system.

Over the years, various attempts have been made to upgrade the system, but several challenges, including procurement delays and contractual issues, have been encountered.

It’s important to note that the cost of a single gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is US $700. Uganda is home to around 459 mountain gorillas, making it a significant destination for gorilla tracking in Africa, with two main locations: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.


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