Total E&P Deny Scaring Animals In Murchison Falls National Park

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In short
Total E&P Uganda has denied the claims that its oil exploration activities in Murchison Falls National Game Park are affecting the wildlife movement patterns in the area. Two weeks ago, officials from Murchison Falls National Park said the oil exploration has scared many animals, especially elephants and wild cats, away from their usual habitats.

Total E&P Uganda has denied the claims that its oil exploration activities in Murchison Falls National Game Park are affecting the wildlife movement patterns in the area.
 
The organization says they have strict policy on compliance with the set guidelines. Two weeks ago, officials from Murchison Falls National Park said the exploration has scared many animals, especially elephants and wild cats away from their usual habitats. They said that the noise made by the heavy trucks has forced the animals to move deeper inside the park. The officials also said many tourists are beginning to get annoyed when they fail to site elephants and other wildlife from their usual habitats.
 
However, in an exclusive interview with Uganda Radio Network, the Total E&P Corporate Communications Manager, Ahlem Friga-Noy, denies the claim. Friga-Noy says as a company, they have followed the guidelines issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) on operating in the park.
 
Friga-Noy says the company in conjunction with UWA has launched a biodiversity data collection to help in proper planning and managing of the two resources. She says for the first time in Africa, they have invested in 3D seismic survey that does not affect the wildlife and environment. Friga-Noy also says Total is doing sensitivity atlas to ensure that areas that are sensitive to the wildlife, their breeding grounds and movement are not disturbed.
 
 //Cue in: “Total MP Uganda…
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The Corporate Communications Manager also says they have a team of both internal and external conservation experts who from time to time monitor the activities of exploration within the park and report regularly to the government agencies and Total. She however says the company is ready to respond to any issue that may arise during oil exploration.
 
Charles Tumwesigye, the Deputy Director of conservation at UWA, says since the start of the exploration all the agreed guidelines are being followed. He says they will continue to work as a team to ensure that the wildlife is not endangered during the process of oil exploration. However, two weeks ago, when our reporter visited the Murchison National Park, all the signs and directions of oil exploration sites were marked in bright red and white colours, instead of green which is stipulated in the guidelines. Elephants in their usual places of abode were also hardly seen during the visit, which the tour guide at the time blamed on the oil exploration activities. Tumwesigye however says they will make concrete evaluation after completing the study on whether such movements are as result of oil exploration or the animals are following their usual migratory patterns.