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“Dangerous Profits,” How Hippos Pay Salaries of Militiamen in DRC-Uganda Border

11 Sep 2023

This story is a cross-border investigation produced with funds from GRID-Arendal.

Hippos in Africa's Great Lakes are facing extinction, with their populations rapidly decreasing in parks like Virunga and Murchison Falls. The illegal hunting of hippos is a major threat, driven by demand for their teeth and meat.

In Virunga, two guards were killed in May 2023, highlighting the ongoing danger to both hippos and those protecting them. Over the past two decades, hippos have seen a 95% reduction in their numbers.

These creatures are now classified as vulnerable by the IUCN due to illegal trade and habitat loss. Efforts to conserve them face challenges, including violence in the region. However, some success stories, like increased awareness and stricter penalties in Uganda, offer hope.

To protect hippos, it's crucial to involve local communities in conservation and establish better border surveillance. Electronic tracking devices could help monitor their movements.

About the author

John Dibaba is an Award-Winning Biodiversity Journalist in Uganda with 7-year experience reporting on Biodiversity. He formerly worked as News Reporter for Radio Pacis and later as News Editor www.radiopacis.org. He also worked with Cooperator magazine and the Public Lens News Paper https://thepubliclensug.com/.

Dibaba is a grantee with Internews, Earth Journalism Network (EJN), African Institute of Investigative Journalism, African Center for Media Excellency (ACME) and Grid-Arendal. All funding were meant to investigate environmental crimes in East Africa.

Apart from Active Journalism, Dibaba is also the Director of Vision for Inclusion, a local organization which is an umbrella of Biodiversity Journalists in the Nile Basin with its headquarter in Arua. The organization’s main aim is to foster collaboration and cooperation among journalists in the Nile basin countries such that cross-border biodiversity stories are covered for regional/continental interest. Vision for Inclusion under the initiative ‘Conservation Media Africa’ sets media Agenda so that Biodiversity stories are covered as much as possible. Through the support of its members, Vision for Inclusion, lobbies for media outlets to allocate enough space for the publication of biodiversity stories.

Status: Completed

Type: Investigative Journalism Grants

Author: John Dibaba

Year of publication: 2023

Publisher: Informationispowah

Tags: Investigative Environmental Journalism

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