UWA to restock wildlife reserves with black rhinoceros

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is drafting a National Rhino Strategy that will see the re-introduction of black rhinos in the wildlife reserves.

This was revealed during a conference held in Kampala on the development of a ten year National Rhino Strategy for Uganda.

Dr. Andrew Seguya the Executive Director UWA said that due to political turmoil in the country in the early 1970’s and 80’s, the Eastern black rhinos and the Northern white rhinos were massively butchered leading to their extinction.

"Wildlife protected areas were heavily encroached and became home for marauding militias and rebels who destroyed infrastructure and wild animals were massively killed leading to extinction of some key species," he said.

Seguya revealed that before the political breakdown, Uganda had 400 black rhinos and 300 white rhinos in the plains of Murchison falls and Kidepo Valley National park respectively.

Maria Mutagamba, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities said that the country has embarked on the formulation and implementation of species-specific national conservation plans for rare, threatened, endemic, endangered and extinct species.

Some of these strategies include the Shoebil and the Crested Crane Action Plan. She pointed out that last year the cabinet approved the Uganda Wildlife Policy, to sustainably manage and develop wildlife resources and healthy ecosystems in Uganda.

Mutagamba noted that although the tourism sector is recognized in the National Development Plan and Vision 2040 as one of the fastest growing service sector and a major foreign exchange earner, there has been limited strategic planning and investment and inadequate mainstreaming of tourism in all government activities to boost the sector.

The three day conference was attended by dignitaries from Rhino Fund Uganda, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), Makerere University, NEMA, Worldwide Wildlife Fund (WWF) and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).