Biodiversity Threats

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Biodiversity Threats
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Threats to Biodiversity and causes of Biodiversity loss
The main threats to biodiversity in Uganda include habitat loss, modification and alteration along with unsustainable harvesting, pollution and introduction of alien species, among others. The historical loss of species has been great in Uganda, and the negative trends are continuing. Many major mammal species, such as rhinos, cheetahs, and oryx were extirpated during Uganda's decades of internal turmoil between 1970 and 1990. Birds and fish species continue to decline in numbers and distribution throughout the country. Most of the remaining large animals are confined to protected areas, where their numbers are small but stable or decreasing still. However, in a few cases (e.g. the mountain gorillas, elephants and kob), the trends show some increase partly because of increased attention (Pomeroy and Tushabe 2004). The major threats to biodiversity in Uganda include the following:


Over-harvesting and Exploitation of Biological Resources
The uncontrolled harvesting or removal without replacement affects regeneration of the species. Over-exploitation depletes Uganda stock of animal and plant resources, lowering populations, affecting the genetic diversity and increasing the risk of local extirpation and subsequent extinction. Over-exploitation usually occur from commercial operations, like fishing or hunting and in some cases the species are targeted because of their food value or due their commercial value or because they are used in popular medicines, due to the pet and skin trade, whether to private or public collections.


Fish have been extensively exploited for food in Uganda today and illegal fishing through the use of wrong fishing gear is reported to be a threat to fish population. It has a devastating effect on the fish stocks by interfering with the breeding cycle when immature fish and mature fish are caught before spawning. Poaching and over-hunting have, in the past, contributed to the loss of the country species richness. During the 1970s, elephant and buffalo populations declined drastically due to massive poaching (Aleper and Moe 2006). In the late 1980s, with improved management and the reactivation of anti-poaching patrols in Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP), a number of species primarily kob, buffalo and waterbuck  increased rapidly as a result of a ban in wildlife hunting.