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 A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) using Game spy digital cameras around the Ayago water falls area on the Victoria Nile has shown big populations of wildlife in the southern sector of the Murchison Falls National Park than previously believed.

This was revealed by Wildlife researcher for JICA study team, Mr. Tomo Akiyama, on Friday November 22nd,2013 while handing over 65 game spy digital cameras to UWA to assist in research and monitoring of the wildlife in protected areas. Flanked by the team leader Mr. Masaaki Nagai and Mr. Daniel Rutabingwa of JICA, the researcher said there are good populations of lions, leopards, giraffes,and chimpanzees at the edge of the water falls.

Most of the game drives in the park are done on the northern bank The one and a half study was aimed at assessing the possible impact the hydro power project at Ayago would have on wildlife. The team leader said the surveillance cameras also captured poachers and other illegal park entrants and thus can be good tools for monitoring other illegal activities against wildlife.

The JICA team thanked UWA for the cooperation during the study and promised to offer continued technical assistance whenever required. According to JICA, the cameras gave them an idea on what animals had an impact on the AYAGO project, though it’s very unfortunate that the project was terminated due to political reasons. However they were grateful to UWA for their collaboration and promise to render their collaboration anytime UWA needs it. He further added that the project started with 160 cameras which they used for their survey, research and monitoring of Murchison falls national park but unfortunately lost most of them to poachers, elephants and fires zeroing down to 65 cameras.

Though their study ended midway because of political programmes, they had taken 10,000 photos in a period of one year which they hope UWA will use for the major management of the national park.

Mr. John Makombo who represented the ED, thanked JICA and Uganda Ministry of Energy for the timely donation and promised to put the equipment to good use. He said the cameras will be deployed to monitor bio-diversity and wildlife management and that staff will be trained in the use of cameras and the data. He added that cameras will be handy in the investigation since they can be in position to trace the animals and poachers from the scene to the villages, as well as capture a lot of information and data that will help to enhance the management of the parks.

He also asked for their collaboration especially in the training of the staff on how to use the cameras and how to download the photos from them. The handover ceremony at UWA headquarters was witnessed by the Deputy Director for Legal and Corporate affairs Mr. Chemonges Sabilla, Deputy Director Human Resource Ms Jackie Bakobaki and the Senior Planning coordinator Mr. Edgar Buhanga flanked by Ms Justine Namara, a senior warden Environment Impact Assessment. End

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