UGANDA (eTN) – Comments made by the embattled chairman of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), who rubbished the “Friend a Gorilla” campaign in recent statements, were generally dismissed by conservation stakeholders as “unsound,” “uninformed,” and “spoken in anger and ignorance.”
Tourism Minister Kahinda Otafiire tried to soften the impact of the ill-timed and ill-considered utterances when he, during a conservation dinner last week, praised the campaign for bringing attention to Uganda as a tourism destination and to the need to protect the gorillas and their fragile mountain environment.
During a meeting of the Leadership for Conservation in Africa – Uganda Chapter it was also felt that the campaign was indeed valuable as a promotional tool and had raised the profile of gorilla conservation.
Present at the LCA meeting was, among others, a past tourism minister, the current chairman of the Uganda Tourist Board, two past chairmen of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and Mr. Moses Mapesa, a member of the board of directors of LCA in his personal capacity. None of the present UWA brass was present.