UWA Translocate 226 Kobs to Ajai Wildlife Reserve from Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve

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200 kobs from Uganda’s Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve to Ajai Wildlife Reserve.
200 kobs from Uganda’s Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve to Ajai Wildlife Reserve.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) made a relocation of 226 Uganda kobs and 50 buffalos from Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve in the Murchison Falls Protected Area to the Ajai Wildlife Reserve in Madi-Okollo District, West Nile.

The relocation is aimed at citing the need to set the stage for the eventual repatriation of white rhinos to their former habitat within the conservation area.

And another reason is to lighten congestion at the Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve while enriching the Ajai Wildlife Reserve, which spans a total area of 166 square kilometers.

Hanji Bashir, the spokesperson of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, highlighted the broader implications of this relocation.

“This translocation is in preparation for reception of new rhinos, additionally, the Kabwoya reserve is over stocked with kobs while on the other hand, Ajai reserve is being repopulated”. Stated Hanji Bashir.

By extending tourism opportunities to the West Nile region, which has thus far lacked a distinct identity in the tourism landscape, Hanji promised that the initiative will invigorate local economies and foster conservation awareness.

A truck carrying kobs being lifted on a hauler truck for transportation to Ajai wildlife reserve.

“With the plans of establishing a wildlife game in westnile, one of our long term goals is to have the representation of westnile as a tourist destination,” emphasized Hanji

The meticulous execution of the transfer involved dedicated efforts from wildlife rangers who meticulously monitored the movements of the animals at Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve.

Employing a mass capture method, the rangers utilized a fleet of 6 vehicles and strategic trapping techniques to safely secure the kobs and Buffalos.

Locals of Ajai community in Madi Okollo district jubilate upon receiving morethan 200 Kobs at the Ajai wildlife reserve.

Dr Eric Enyel, a wildlife veterinary doctor, ensured the health and safety of the captured animals by conducting thorough analysis to detect any potential infections before their transportation to their new habitat.

“We deployed a C formation with a fleet of 6 vehicles to scout the animals, the cars form and face the animals chasing them towards the set destination that traps them,” noted Dr Enyel.

“When the animals are captured, they are sampled for analysis to see if they are any infections.”

Despite facing challenges such as mechanical issues with the transportation vehicles, the UWA response team swiftly improvised solutions to ensure the animals’ safe journey to Ajai Wildlife Reserve, albeit with a delay of eight additional hours from the initially planned five hours.

The arrival of the animals at Ajai Wildlife Reserve was met with jubilation and traditional festivities from the Madi Okollo community, underscoring the profound significance of their return to the region after a prolonged absence.

The Executive director of UWA Sam Muwandha (centre) together with the district RDC (left) witness the arrival of kobs at the Ajai wildlife reserve.

Sam Mwandha, the executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority, reiterated the agency’s commitment to fostering a harmonious coexistence with the Ajai community while vehemently condemning poaching activities.

“We have held stakeholder engagements with local leaders to ensure that wildlife conservation is achieved, vices such as poaching that has for long affected wildlife will not be tolerated and as UWA we shall not no sympathy for poachers” warned Muwandha

Mwandha cautioned UWA staff against coniving with poachers for dubious deals and emphasized the role of community engagement in combating wildlife-related challenges, announcing plans for further collaboration to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

“Sometimes UWA staff are taken up by greed to do wrong things in wildlife conversation, and that therefore the community should not hesitate reporting them,” emphasized Muwandha.

Toko Swaib, the RDC of Madi-Okollo, expressed gratitude for the community sensitization efforts spearheaded by UWA, which dispelled previous apprehensions about wildlife conservation.

He emphasized the transformative potential of wildlife presence in stimulating tourism-driven development and outlined ongoing initiatives to educate and mobilize local communities in support of conservation.

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