Private Company Restocking Wildlife in Northern Uganda

4359 Views Kitgum, Uganda
Efforts are being made to restock game reserves that were neglected during the 20-year guerilla rebellion in Northern Uganda. The restocking is being undertaken by the Uganda Wildlife Authority in partnership with a private company, Uganda Wildlife Safaris Limited, and the Aswa-Lolim Wildlife Association. Zachary Olum, chairperson of the Aswa-Lolim Wildlife Association explains that the process is similar to the national cattle restocking program. Species like Kob antelope, the Lelwel Hartebeest and warthogs, which are in abundance in Murchison Falls National Park, but in short supply elsewhere, are to be relocated and reintroduced into the Ajai game reserve and the Aswa-Lolim ranches in Amuru district. Olum, a former Member of Parliament for Nwoya County, says there will be a systematic repopulation of animals indigenous to the two game reserves like the small duiker antelope, waterbucks and buffalos. Uganda Wildlife Safaris and the Aswa-Lolim Wildlife Association recently entered into a contract with Government to introduce game sport hunting in Amuru. Zachary Olum says this contract will not conflict with the restocking program. He says only animals that are old and weak will be hunted and precautions will be made to protect endangered species. //Cue in: iBasically we want to regulate #i Cue out: i# to ensure continuity.i// Zachary Olum says his organization will employ former poachers as guides in the sport hunting program. He hopes the salary they will earn as guides will encourage other poachers to stop the illegal killing of game. //Cue in: iThere is a saying ...i Cue out: i# illegal activities.i// Despite the potential benefits of sport hunting, not everyone in Amuru or Kitgum districts is optimistic about the move. Faustino Ojok, a Kitgum resident, says he is against the restocking of wildlife. He says animals like baboons and monkeys are pests because they regularly invade farms and destroy crops. David Mukidi, an LC5 councilor in Kitgum, is suspicious about the development. He accuses the former MP of attempting to grab land under the guise of a wildlife sport hunting program. The Uganda Wildlife Authority piloted professional sport hunting around Lake Mburo National Park in 2001. It signed an agreement with Game Trails Limited to implement sport hunting in six private ranches around the park. Sport hunting was expanded to include the Kaiso-Tonya Community Wildlife Area, the Palabek and Lipan Community Wildlife Areas in Kitgum and the Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve in Hoima. The Wildlife Authority intends to introduce sport hunting to the Karenga, Iriri and Amudat Community Wildlife Areas in Karamoja as well as the Rwengara Community Wildlife Management Area on the southern shores of Lake Albert.