Uganda boosts efforts to strengthen wildlife management capacity and protect elephants
Two new eight-man ranger posts built with support from the Government of Japan and the EU through the CITES MIKE Programme were handed over to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Friday 12th April, 2019. The Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Uganda, Mr Mizumoto Horii commissioned the Lions Bay ranger post, and the Honourable Minister Godfrey Kiwanda Ssubi opened the Katore ranger post.
The new outposts provide a base for field rangers conducting operations in two important wildlife and tourism sectors and will significantly strengthen UWA’s capacity to address current and emerging threats impacting this important MIKE site. The new outposts are part of UWA’s larger Recovery of Queen Elizabeth National Park programme. The project was led on-the-ground on behalf of CITES by the Uganda Conservation Foundation, in close collaboration with UWA.
Queen Elizabeth National Park provides protection for 95 species of mammal and over 620 species of birds. The park forms part of an extensive transboundary ecosystem that covers forest reserves and the adjacent Virunga National Park World Heritage Site, in the DRC. The elephant population in the was reduced by poaching to below 400 elephants in 1988 but has since been increasing steadily over the last twenty years thanks to the conservation efforts by UWA.
The elephant population in the park was recently reported by UWA as young and healthy, with over 3000 individuals. It is by far the largest elephant population in Uganda, but still below levels the area can sustain.
“The illegal wildlife trade is an urgent global issue. Japan is deeply committed to the cause of protecting elephants and their natural habitat. Japan places great importance on supporting elephant range states in the fight against elephant poaching”, said Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Uganda, Mr Mizumoto Horii, he continued that “Japan continues to make great efforts in implementing the trade control of ivory under CITES and working together with our partners to tackle the problem of elephant poaching and the illegal elephant trade.”
“The funding provided by the Government of Japan, WildAid and the European Union for the development of essential infrastructure needed to support management operations is invaluable. The investment and attention given to the area has had a significant impact on the overall morale of the staff based in the Lions Bay and Katore Sectors and enhanced their capacity to effectively protect the area”, added Thea Carroll, CITES MIKE Programme Coordinator.