Marine Ranger Unit operational again in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is dominated by water. With eleven fishing villages throughout the park the waterways are a busy and important economy to tens of thousands of people. However, as the waterways reach all corners of the protected area and the troubled neighboring DRC, they are also a highway for poachers and smugglers, both across the international border as well as in and around the park.
In 2017 thanks to the EU funded CITES MIKES Project and GiZ, a Law Enforcement Strategy was developed for Queen Elizabeth National Park by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and their partner Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF). Among a number of priorities, the plan identified increasing the capacity of the Queen Elizabeth Marine Ranger Unit as a priority for support. Under the EU CITES MIKES Project a boat and engine were purchased, and training provided to the new unit’s staff.
In addition, two waves of training of specialist training have been provided under the project. The first in November 2018 for existing marine rangers focused on refreshing their skills in boat operations, engine management, safety and rescue techniques and first aid. The second wave was delivered to the new rangers that joined UWA and were deployed to Queen Elizabeth National Park in late 2018. All rangers passed the course!
Thanks to funding from the European Union under the CITES MIKES project Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Marine Ranger Unit is back on the water and operational. Further strengthening of the Queen Elizabeth Marine Ranger Unit is planned for 2019, and is expected to continue with additional funds provided by the European Union under the Cross Regional Wildlife Project, which should see support for the area continue until well into 2022.