On 12 August, Uganda’s Tourism Minister, the Honorable Maria Mutagamba, launched Uganda’s Ten-year National Rhino Strategy.
After years of political instability during the 1970s and 80s intensive poaching of the country’s wildlife drove rhinos to extinction in Uganda. The northern white rhino was last seen in 1982 in Murchison Falls National Park, while the last Eastern black rhino was last seen in 1983 in Kidepo Valley National Park.
The establishment of Rhino Fund Uganda in 1997 and the creation of the 7,000 hectare Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary led to the re-introduction of the first six rhinos during 2005/2006. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary now has a growing population of rhinos and a security force of 80 rangers to patrol and monitor the Sanctuary 24/7.
Uganda is a member of both the East Africa Rhino Management Group (ERMG) and the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG), and will manage the country’s rhinos in accordance to the high standards of the group.
Along with continuing the success of the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the Uganda Wildlife Authority also hopes to re-introduce black rhinos to wildlife reserves.
The strategy will set a robust legal framework for the species’ management, while providing guidance and direction for rhino conservation efforts in Uganda. Several main issues that will be addressed include habitat loss, security, poaching, disease, human-wildlife conflict and infrastructure development.
This is an important step for rhino conservation in Uganda and the future re-establishment of the country’s rhino populations.
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