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Starting as a Field Ranger, George Owoyesigire has risen the ranks to Deputy Director for Community Conservation at the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Throughout his career, he has been a passionate and dependable advocate for communities living near wildlife. His foremost intervention of bee-keeping for human-elephant conflict mitigation has changed lives around Uganda’s Kibale National Park. Not only has it deterred elephants from raiding crops and destroying property, it has also generated much-needed income for poor rural communities through the sale of honey, single-handedly turning around community attitudes towards conservation.
A versatile conservationist, he is as comfortable in a community meeting as he is drafting policy. He has been key to the formulation of national policy for the management of human-wildlife conflict, ensuring communities and wildlife can continue to co-exist with mutual benefit.
Poverty is one of the principal causes of environmental degradation, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Unless people strike a balance between the costs and the benefits, they won’t want to be helping wildlife. The issue we need to confront is promoting livelihood enterprises.