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SOS Rhino : In the News : Uganda Imports Kenya Rhinos

Uganda Imports Kenya Rhinos

  The Monitor (Kampala)

July 25, 2005
Posted to the web July 25, 2005

Emma Masumbuko

IN a move to boost the tourism sector, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has imported four Kenyan rhinos at undisclosed amount.

UWA Executive Director Moses Wafula Mapesa on Wednesday said the animals were transported to Zziwa ranch in Nakasongola district last Tuesday.

He said decision to keep the rhinos on Zziwa ranch is in line with the organisation's policy to work closely with the private sector in managing the country's wildlife resources.

"Our target is to get 15 rhinos on Zziwa ranch as a breeding stock. Once they have multiplied, we shall reintroduce them in Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Park. UWA is working closely with Rhino Uganda Fund to re-introduce the rhinos in Uganda," he said.

"These animals will be quarantined for a period of time before releasing them into the wild. During this time, it is expected that they will get used to the Ugandan climate as well as pastures, he said.

He said the rhinos would be closely monitored for any signs of ill health and discomfort by a team of veterinary doctors from UWA, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) and the Department of Livestock Health and Entomology in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Wafula said.

He said in the 1960s, Uganda had 700 rhinos but they perished due to poaching and natural death.

"We now have six rhinos. Two at UWEC in Entebbe and the 4 at Zziwa ranch in Nakasongola", he said.

He said the UWA would ensure that the rhinos remain safe from diseases and poaching when they are finally re-introduced in the parks.

"Currently, Uganda has 18,000 buffaloes, 3,000 elephants, 315 mountain gorillas, 320 giraffes and 950 chimpanzees, the highest chimpanzee population in Africa among other species", he said.

According to Ms Irene Makumbi, a research manager with Uganda Wild Society, tourism is now the leading foreign exchange earner in the country.

" Statistics from the central bank indicates tourism a leading foreign exchange earner. In the 2000, $113 million was earned from tourism and this has steadily increased to $200 million in 2004, a clear demonstration that wildlife is wealth and should therefore be conserved", she said.

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