Uganda Wildlife Preserve to Host Rare Game

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After 45 years since their disappearance, Hartebeests and Waterbucks will once again roam the savannah plains of Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve in Albertine Rift Valley escarpment in Western Uganda.

This will be made possible by an ongoing conservation project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in conjunction with Lake Albert Safaris and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) who will on December 2nd, 2007 begin relocating 20 Jackson's Hartebeests and 20 Waterbucks from Murchison Falls National Park, a press statement from the U.S Embassy said.

USAID through its PRIME/West project, seeks to reduce threats to biodiversity in the endangered Albertine Rift eco - region, the statement added.

It pointed out that the effort will improve the management of 100,000 hectares of biological significance, implement various conservation-related policies and agreements and train over 400 people in conservation.

The Kabwoya-Kaiso Wildlife Management Area is a significant protected zone within the disrupted ecosystems of western Uganda.

It comprises a 200 square-kilometre shelf of land between the Albertine Rift escarpment and Lake Albert itself, and is the only ecologically intact area of savannah along the 200 kilometres stretch of Lake Albert shoreline between Tooro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve in the south and Murchison Falls National Park in the north.

With its location in the Rift and its proximity to the large Bugoma Forest Reserve, the Kabwoya-Kaiso Wildlife Management Area is of great importance in maintaining corridors for genetic flow in the Albertine Rift.

The statement also revealed that additional species that include white rhino, giant forest hog, Zebra, Giraffe and Cheetah would be re - introduced in the area in future.It said that the re - location was done under a tripartite Contractual Agreement the UWA, Hoima District Local Government and Lake Albert Safaris, contribute to the management of the Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve.

It added that through this agreement, Lake Albert Safaris is managing the reserve through tourism, for the purpose of restoring the wildlife populations, conserving vegetation resources and generating revenues for the benefit of local communities.

It said that expanding human population in western Uganda, these areas are increasingly becoming threatened, forests destroyed and wildlife populations intensively hunted for bush meat especially in the central part of the Albertine Rift along the escarpment areas adjacent to Lake Albert.

Through recent and ongoing conservation efforts, a significant number of wildlife has returned to the area, including Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Oribi, Duiker, Warthog, Leopard, Buffalo, Lion, Black-and-white Colobus monkeys, Chimpanzees and the Olive baboon.

The Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve shares this significance, with its landscapes, ecosystems and biological diversity.

This diversity is protected in the continuous string of forest reserves and wildlife protected areas extending from Mgahinga National Park in the south to Murchison Falls in the north.

The area is popular with birders, with an unofficial count of up to 460 species. The interventions support endangered species, tropical ecosystems along with communities and disenfranchised populations.

With wildlife-based tourism, communities benefit from revenue sharing, UWA benefits from the revenue for the protected area system, and humanity benefits from the conservation of endangered species.