Out with the old and in with the new as President Museveni disbands the Rhino Fund Uganda. When it comes to tourism the Uganda government has really done a commendable job as it is holding the bull by its horns as it is directing concerted efforts towards the development of this sector. This all because as of today, the tourism sector is currently Uganda’s top foreign exchange garnering in close to 1.4 billion USD and contributing about 7.3% of Uganda’s gross domestic product. All this comes from the 1.4 million tourists (as of 2016/2017 financial year reports) who visited Uganda to undertake various Uganda safari packages such as Uganda wildlife safaris, Uganda gorilla trekking safari , Uganda birding safaris and many others that are available for sell by the numerous tour operators like Prime safaris and Wild Gorilla safaris.
With all this in consideration, its only normal for the government to pay a keen interest in everything that takes place in this sector which earns it this mega amount of money. It’s against this very background that the president Uganda President Museveni has intervened in a wrangle that has been brewing amongst some of the key stakeholders who play a crucial role in the operations of the sector. Word reaching our desk in that the president of the Republic of Uganda has decided to disband the current board of the Rhino Fund Uganda on grounds of failure to solve their grievances amicably.
What is the Rhino Fund Uganda?
The rhino fund Uganda(RFU) was created in 1997 with a sole aim of repopulating Uganda’s national parks with rhinoceroses through application sound conservation principles breeding and release program whereby a safe environment is created, in which rhinos can be conserved for future generations. In addition to that, the RFU promotes conservation of rhinos through conservation education and community projects, that are aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the surrounding communities, as well as Uganda as a whole
With the generous and helping hand of one Captain Joe Joy, who leased his land in Nakasongola to the RFU’s with sole usage rights for 30 renewable years. With successful acquisition of land, the RFU’S vision was on the right trajectory for implementation and it was only a matter of time that Rhino’s were soon to be welcomed back to the land where they had existed before and this led to the creation of the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the sanctuary now seats on the 7 000 hectares of savannah and woodlands that has ben faced off using an electric fence to fend off poachers and provide a safe haven for rhinos to roam free just like before.
From this, the first six southern white rhinos were translocated in 2005/6, with four from Kenya, and two from Disney Animal Kingdom (USA). As it was northern white rhinos that once populated Uganda’s national parks, our rhinos are technically considered an exotic breed!
It was four years before the first rhino was born in March 2008. Unfortunately, Bella’s baby was a stillborn.
The next year – 24th June 2009 – we had a healthy male calf, making history by being the first rhino born in Uganda in approximately 30 years! He was named Obama, making history, with his mother from the United States and his father from Kenya. As of today the rhino sanctuary has grown over to constitute about 27 rhinos and still counting.
Why are the rhinos important
Rhinos are very important especially to the tourism world in Uganda because they are part of the 5 big African wild animals that are highly sought after by several hundreds of tourists on their Uganda wildlife safari. Its is also important to note that Uganda’s tourism sector is highly premised on Uganda’s diverse wildlife which includes wild animals birds, reptiles and plants.
Wild mammals- if you are looking for wild mammals, a Uganda wildlife safari to some of Uganda wildlife safaris destinations such as Lake Mburo National Park Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park Murchison Falls National Park Uganda, will give you an encounter with some of the finest African savanna mammals like you have never seen before. Many of these destinations have 4 or 5 out of the big five africa game which include African bush elephants, cape buffaloes, lions, leopards and with the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary adjascent to Murchison falls National Park, a Uganda safari goer stands high chances of to encounter all the big fives just in one place.
On top of these expect to encounter numerous other mammals such as Roth child giraffes, Burchell zebras, elands, Jackson hartebeests, topis, and wide variety antelopes. Since Uganda being part of the larger grassland plains of East Africa any Africa wildlife safari visitor can enjoy similar Africa safaris tour experience in Kenya similar to that enjoyed while on a tour Uganda to several of the tropical savanna grassland parks in Uganda.
Such an Africa safari experience can be had when you make a Kenya wildlife safari to Masai Mara National Reserve or other Kenya safari destinations like Nairobi National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Tsavo East National Park, Aberdares National Park and Amboseli National Park. Similarly, a Tanzania wildlife safari to Tanzania safari destinations such as Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Park and Serengeti National Park. can also bare the same fruits
Uganda the land of apes
To primatologists and any other person who is intrigued by these wild cousins of ours, Uganda isn’t only the Pearl of Africa as many of us know it to be but also is truly the home of primates and this is because Uganda is home to over 13 primate species a number that isn’t easily found elsewhere on the planet. Are you on a search for mountain gorillas? If you’re, then get your bags ready and make that Africa gorilla safari to Uganda because Uganda is home to these elusive mountain gorillas which are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
These gentle giants in Uganda almost constitute half of the world’s gorilla population which is currently standing at around 1000 individuals. Uganda gorilla safaris give you an opportunity to meet any of the 19 gorilla families that have been habituated to give you the best Uganda gorilla tours experience. Some of the most popular Uganda gorilla tours include 3 days bwindi gorilla tours, 4 days Bwindi gorilla safari with wildlife safari to Queen Elizabeth and 6 days Uganda gorilla trekking safari and chimpanzees.
When it comes to gorillas, Uganda isn’t the only country that is home to these unforgettable mountain giants but these can also be encountered when you make a Rwanda gorilla safari to Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda gorilla tours put you in a unique position to encounter several of these amazingly shy land giants as they go about their daily rounds as this park is home to 10 gorilla families that have been habituated to give you an ultimate Rwanda gorilla trekking tour experience. The other country that is ready to for you on your Africa gorilla safari adventure is Congo. A Congo gorilla safari takes you to Virunga National Park which is home to the mountain gorillas. However, Congo gorilla tour still can lead you to Kahuzi Biega National Park which is home to the rare Eastern lowland gorillas.
Uganda the home of birds
Uganda isn’t only famous for its spectacular wildlife but it’s a big birding destination as well because a Uganda birding safari to any of the numerous birding safari destinations in Uganda such as Semuliki National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidpeo Valley National Park and Kibale National Park is a totally unique experience that gives you an opportunity to encounter several of the 1070 bird species that call Dear Uganda home. This makes Uganda home to over 50% of all the bird species that are found on the African continent.
President’s take on the bitter brawl
During a meeting that was convened at the Statehouse over the weekend which attended by many of these stakeholders such as Tourism Minister, Ephraim Kamuntu, RFU Board Members Daudi Makobore (Vice-Chairman) and RFU Executive Director Angie Genade. Captain Roy, Bonnie Wendy and lawyer Richard Omongole of Omongole and Company advocates. Uganda Wildlife Authority officials led by their Executive Director Sam Mwandha also attended the meeting. President Museveni recognised Roy’s significant contribution to the existence of Rhino’s in Uganda, noting that hadn’t he offered land, the Rhino’s wouldn’t have had a sanctuary to stay.
|President Museveni in White shirt posing for a photo with those who attended the meeting at the statehouse in Entebbe|
The President argued that since Capt. Roy had a legitimate interest in the land, he be allowed to enter into a fresh five-year joint agreement with RFU to manage the welfare of the Rhino’s and that both parties share revenues generated from the venture equally.
The President then directed that Captain Roy be reappointed to the Board and that after five years, the two parties could determine whether they want to continue with the partnership or part ways.
With the president’s approval, the board was also expanded from the initial seven to nine members. RFU will have four representatives, Capt. Roy will have 3 representatives while the Government would be represented by two members.
The President’s final intervention puts to end an acrimonious fall out between RFU and Capt. Roy who had been embroiled in a litany of court cases over the management of the Rhino sanctuary in which he (Capt. Roy) had accused Genade of attempting to grab 16,000 acres of land that he had leased to RFU while Genade accused Capt. Roy of wanting to evict them from the ranch.
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