In the bid to strengthen Human Wildlife Conflict measures around BINP, sixty-four members of the Human Gorilla Conflict Resolution Teams (HUGOs) were refreshed on several important work issues. The refresher meeting was conducted by IGCP in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Among other things the members did an assessment of their work – identifying their strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed. They were also taken through team skills to promote group cohesion, and the current wildlife management tools and guidelines as well as community conservation.
According to Joshua Masereka, Community Conservation Warden – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, “convening and empowering HuGos is important for they are the link between park management and the community. They play a big role in managing gorilla invasions on public land, law enforcement and sensitizing the public on conservation.” “They fill in the gap of UWA staff who are few and live in isolated camps,” Joshua added.
The meeting helped in refreshing the minds of the HuGo members and further equipped them with knowledge and skills to protect wildlife. They however expressed a couple of concerns including change of home range by the elephants – these have moved closer to the community, baboons which continue to threaten both human life and livestock. Combining measures like planting tea and the Mauritius thorn hedge coupled with routine patrols should be explored to combat Human Wildlife Conflict better.