Ugandans Join Effort To Save The Threatened African Elephants

elephantThe Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in conjunction with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in 2015 conducted an aerial surveys of elephants in Uganda‘s national parks, the results of the survey projected that their numbers is increasing and stood at 5,000.

That is not good news enough for the conservationists and Uganda as a country. We need to invest much effort to ensure that the number of Uganda’s elephants increases more than the number projected. The survey confirmed the need to establish trans-boundary conservation programs with South Sudan and Kenya and to strengthen existing collaboration with Democratic Republic of Congo.

It should be noted with great concern that the rate in which poachers are killing elephants in our national parks is highly alarming. And all the stakeholders in this regard, should wake up through conducting massive sensitization of people countrywide so as to conserve and even increase that number.

In 1970s and 1980s because of the widespread poaching and limited resources for the national parks, Uganda’s elephant numbers plummeted. Elephants became confined to protected areas due to poaching pressures and numbers dropped as low as 700-800 individuals in the country.

Statistics show that we have improved in our protection and conservation mechanisms that since the 1990s and the creation of UWA, together with support from Government, donors, and conservation partners such as; Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN), elephant numbers are now on increase. But even then, a lot need to be done by totally stopping the illegal wildlife trade.

Despite the rampant poaching and ivory trafficking across much of Africa, it is very encouraging to see elephant numbers increasing in Uganda as a result of effective protection in several parks. And this, we can credit all the stakeholders for job well done.

Aerial surveys conducted in June 2014 by WCS and UWA staff estimated 1,330 elephants in Murchison Falls National Park, 2,913 in Queen Elizabeth National Park and 656 in the Kidepo Valley National Park and Karenga Community Wildlife Management area.

Elephant numbers in Queen Elizabeth Park have reached levels similar to those in the 1960s before heavy poaching hit the Park. There is a continued population recovery in Murchison, a former elephant stronghold, and UWA’s protection efforts are yielding positive results for many wildlife species in Kidepo Valley and Karenga.

NRCN which plays the role of a conservationist is keeping a keen eye on those poachers and with strong collaboration with the police and the Judiciary, suspects and being arrested and brought to book. By this, those who plan engaging in illegal wildlife trade mostly in ivory have a strong reason to worry and should discard such plans.

Uganda was labelled by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in 2012 as one of the eight countries  of primary concern in the ivory trade because of the volume of illegal ivory that had passed through Uganda. Here, I say, we have a big task to have our country struck off from that labeling.

While it is sweet news to our ears and encouraging that elephant numbers are increasing. It’s not yet done. This is because poaching remains a big challenge nevertheless in Uganda and there is a need to remain vigilant.  Recently, NRCN and police have kept arresting suspects with ivory. Meaning, Uganda is still not completely secure from poaching but the new survey results provide encouragement for conservationists when nearly every other country in Africa is showing drastic declines in numbers of elephants.

Government should come up with strict penalties against those caught in the act of illegal wildlife trade in the country so that we shall be able to protect and conserve wildlife. By this, we shall be able to protect and conserve animals or plants.

Law enforcers need impetus to do a robust work. For example, Uganda Wildlife Act Section 30, prohibits the utilization of wildlife without a wildlife use right. It further states that, “No person may engage in any of the activities under section 29 or any other activities of a like nature which involve the utilisation of wildlife and wildlife products without first obtaining a grant of a wildlife use right.”

Without elephants, Uganda’s landscape would be unrecognizable, yet these animals are getting extinct as a result of two enormous waves of poaching that is being done by the US and China in this modern age. China has moved its economy to being one of the leading economies globally mostly due to illegal trade. The US which is the world’s second-largest market for ivory is using legal trade in old ivory as a cover for illegal trade in new ivory.

These countries are rich because they use our raw materials and to matters worse, they have the money and with the biting poverty in Africa, it pushes us to deal to trading in illegal wildlife unknowing that we are depleting our natural resources.

In African forests, mostly in DR Congo which has its forest belt extending to Uganda’s border from the west, elephants declined by 62 percent in less than a decade. This drastic decline was due to a lethal cocktail of illegal hunting, habitat loss and civil strife that have impeded our region, and are the more urgently at risk of losing the two species.

Uganda should tighten restrictions on the import, export and sale of ivory products to, from and in the United States, China and any other country. Let us handle well the crisis of the animals’ slaughter then we see how we can fail to preserve our wildlife.

Contact Travel 256 for more information about Uganda Safaris via info@gulutours.com or call our hotline +256-701367970.

 

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Top Tourist Attractions And Sites in Gulu, Uganda- Gulu Hotels

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  1. Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is one the most important national parks of the country.  Established in 1952, the park is home to large varieties of wildlife.  In addition, the park’s attractiveness to tourists is enhanced by its very natural and scenic green landscapes.

The park’s attractions include game drives, bird watching and the scenic boat rides.  In particular, the park offers game viewing of indigenous wildlife including African forest elephants, lions, giraffes, African buffalos, bushbucks, kobs, crocodiles, waterbucks, kongonis, oribis, bohor reedbucks, baboons, warthogs and a variety of monkey species.  Murchison falls is also one of the most important attractions in the park.The park’s infrastructure includes Sarova Paraa Lodge, Nile Safari Camp, Sambiya River Lodge, Paraa Rest Camp and Rabongo Camp.

  1. Sir Samuel Baker’s Fort at Patiko

The Fort is located 30 kilometers from Gulu town in Ajulu parish, Patiko sub-county, Aswa county.  Constructed as a slave collection centre, the Fort was taken over by Sir Smuel Baker in 1872 to 1888, before it became headquarters for Emin Pasha and Gordon, the respective Governors of the then Equatorial Province of the British Protectorate.

Exploitation of the Fort for tourism purposes was disrupted by the insurgency in northern Uganda.  The previously existing infrastructure was destroyed.  The layout of the Fort is as follows:

  1. Guides Office
  2. Communication Trench
  3. Entrance Gate
  4. Millet Store
  5. Simsim Store
  6. Court Yard
  7. Marks of executions by axe
  8. Chair of Judge (seat curved out of high rock)
  9. Cell for women captives
  10. Cell for men captives
  11. Execution area
  12. Area for depositing bodies (skulls exist at rock bottom)
  13. Firing squad area
  14. Mark of cross left by Baker’s wife where she used to pray from every morning
  15. Armery store
  16. Observatory point
  17. Baber’s slip (breath taking deep gap in rock where Baker used to hope repeatedly every morning)
  18. Grinding stone
  19. Oyaro’s passage (point at the deep communication trench named after a slave who managed to escape by jumping over the trench).
  20. Guest reception centre
  21. Two huts depicting Acholi traditional huts.
  1. Amoro Hot spring

The Hot spring is located about 35 kilometres from Gulu town, in Paga parish, Amoro sub-county, Kilak county.  The hot spring covers an area of about 100 square metres and is the largest found in northern Uganda.  Although undeveloped, the hot spring has a lot of potential for tourism exploitation.  The surrounding landscape is suitable for developing campsites and excursion grounds.

  1. Karuma Falls 

The western part of Karuma falls is located in Gulu district and the eastern part in Apac while the southern part is in Masindi.  The designs of the proposed underground electricity dam to be built there indicate minimal disruption with the visible nature of the falls.  Thus the falls which already have tourist campsites on the southern bank in Masindi district have large potential for tourism exploitation.

  1. Tochi Resort Beach

Located about 20 kilometres south of Gulu town, Tochi beach is a low lying sandy bank of River Tochi.  The beach has potential for development into an important tourist attraction for excursions, camping and bandas.

  1. Guruguru caves

The caves are located about 25 kilometres north of Gulu town.  The are said to have been used as safe haven during the Lamogi rebellion and historical inter-clan wars among the Luo.  The Guruguru caves offer opportunity for further diversification of tourism products when developed.

  1. Hill Climbing

There are a number of isolated hills in the district that offer opportunity for hill climbing.  These are: Kilak, Ato, Patiko and Moro hills.

 

  1. Atiak Colobus Monkeys

A large concentration of colobus monkeys exists in the Atiak forest reserve near the Albert Nile. The fairly rare mammals, wide variety of bird species and the savannah short forest canopies combine to give a potential attraction that may be enhanced by tourist trails and camp/excursion sites to offer a perfect product.

  1. Cultural Performances and Antiquities

The Acholi dance and antiquities have not yet been fully developed to tap the potential benefits from tourism.  There are plans by the local authorities to establish a cultural centre in Gulu town for crafts, souvenirs and cultural ornaments and regalia.

  1. Hotel and Catering

Gulu district had 26 accommodation establishments at the time of the survey. A number of accommodation establishments are new and appear to be resulting from increased demand for accommodation by relief agencies operating in the district.  The district had a total capacity of 535 beds.  The outstanding hotels in the district include Paraa Safari lodge, found in Murchison Falls, and Hotel Pearl Afrique in Gulu town. The sector employed 419 people in the district.

Contact us today through info@gulutours.com or call our hotline +256-701367970. Explore Gulu and northern Uganda with our car rental services  and guided tours in Uganda.

Explore Gulu and Kidepo Valley National Park in your northern Uganda safari

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Gulu District is located in Northern Uganda and borders South Sudan in the strategic cross-border transit area of the great North road through Nimule to Northern Africa. Besides South Sudan, the District borders Amuru, Kitgum, Oyam, and Pader.

The district is blessed with a number of tourist attractions and sites that will give an amazing northern Uganda experience on your Uganda self-drive trip or guided tour.

Karuma Falls: The western part of Karuma falls is located in Gulu district and the eastern part in Apac while the southern part is in Masindi. The designs of the proposed underground electricity dam to be built there indicate minimal disruption with the visible nature of the falls. Thus the falls which already have tourist campsites on the southern bank in Masindi.

Sir Samuel Baker’s Fort: The Fort is located 30 kilometers from Gulu town in Ajulu parish. Constructed as a slave collection centre, the Fort was taken over by Sir Samuel Baker in 1872 to 1888, before it became headquarters for Emin Pasha and Gordon, the respective Governors of the then Equatorial Province of the British Protectorate.

Amoro Hot Spring: The Amoro Hot spring is located about 35 kilometres from Gulu town. The hot spring covers an area of about 100 square metres and is the largest found in northern Uganda. The hot spring’s surrounding landscape is suitable for developing campsites and excursion grounds.

Hill Climbing: There are a number of isolated hills in the Gulu that offer opportunity for hill climbing. These include: Kilak, Ato, Patiko and Moro hills.

Tochi Resort Beach: The Tochi Resort Beach is located about 20 kilometres south of Gulu town, Tochi beach is a low lying sandy bank of River Tochi.

Guruguru Caves: The caves are located about 25 kilometres north of Gulu town. They are said to have been used as safe haven during the Lamogi rebellion and historical inter-clan wars among the Luo.

Extend your trip to the far northeast and visit the wilderness Kidepo Valley National park with abundant wildlife and community encounter of the IK people.

Game drives in Kidepo valley National Park: This is an amazing activity that attracts tourists to come for Uganda safaris for the best view of the abundant wildlife. As you are carrying out the activity you will see different animals like the buffaloes, lions, elephants, leopards, ostrich and many others.

Birding in Kidepo: There are different types of birds that are seen as tourists walk around the area. The birding experience is so interesting and does not need energy hence making the tour to Uganda marvelous. Birds are always spotted at Apoka Rest Camp and on the boundaries of Namamukweny and also Narus Valleys.

Leisure walks and Hiking in Kidepo: Tourists can climb different mountains in Kidepo and at the peak they see different areas and wildlife hence an exciting experience while on a Uganda safari. The tourists also visit the areas around the park and interact with people around the area. This makes tourists feel at home as the people are lovely hence promoting more visits in Uganda.

Contact us today to arrange your safari to Gulu and Kidepo Valley just contact us on info@travel256.com or call travel +256-701367970.