Two-thirds of Ugandans now aware of new law, 91% said campaign influenced them to report wildlife crime
In 2019, Uganda’s parliament passed a landmark Wildlife Act, setting out comprehensive guidelines to safeguard the country’s natural resources, while dramatically increasing the penalties for wildlife crime. The maximum sentence for wildlife crimes such as hunting or trading in protected species was increased to life imprisonment, and the maximum fine raised to 20 billion Ugandan shillings ($5.5 million).
WildAid partnered with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to raise awareness about the new law. The campaign was titled “Think of the family you would leave behind” and highlighted the social impact of being convicted for wildlife crime. The overall goals of the campaign were to deter Ugandans from engaging in wildlife crime and to increase their willingness to report it.
Billboards were placed in wildlife crime transit hotspots across the country, such as wildlife product consolidation points like the capital city, Kampala, and the northern capital, Gulu, and Kasese, a large regional town situated close to Queen Elizabeth National Park and the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
Our campaign video and two animated cartoons, which were created by two young upcoming Ugandan animators, were aired 41 times during prime-time on Uganda’s most-watched TV channel, NTV, while the videos were aired over 10,000 times on 130 cross-country buses with our partner Tambula Digital Media . Radio spot ads were aired 4,894 times across 18 radio stations in eight languages, while 180,000 posters were distributed in 10 languages across the country.
The campaign’s reach was nationwide, and its impact was impressive. On social media alone, it logged 7 million impressions, with 151,000 engagements and 805,000 video views.
In a survey of 1,000 Ugandans contacted by GeoPoll in 2023:
- 66% said they had seen or heard information about the new law
- 91% who saw the campaign said it had an influence on whether they would report wildlife crime.
The survey also reported a 19% (11 percentage point) increase in Ugandans who said they were very familiar or somewhat familiar with the new law (from 58% in 2019 to 69% in 2023).
WildAid’s efforts to reduce wildlife trade and trafficking in Uganda, which is a key transit hub for wildlife products, haven’t ended there. Campaigns are being expanded to key border crossing points with South Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, Tanzania to the south, Rwanda to the south-west and the Democratic Republic of Congo the west, targeting workers at and communities living near the borders.
Conservation materials aimed specifically at stakeholders in the criminal justice system will be also be rolled out in the months ahead, while our work to underline the benefits of wildlife to Uganda and to raise awareness about what the country stands to lose from wildlife crime continues.