UGANDA Conservation Foundation(UCF) is planning another session of training for marine rangers in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls national parks due to start on the 25th October, 2014 at Mweya Peninsular.The rangers will be trained in boat handling, safety and rescue, community conservation and first aid skills. Professional trainers from UK will arrive on 24th of October, 2014, according to Michael Keigwin of UCF.
Over the past six years UCF has completed the construction of six Marine Ranger Stations with over 60 rangers fully trained on international level. The marine stations are Rwenshama, Mweya, Kashaka and Kahendero in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Paraa and Semanya in Murchison Falls National Park. All the mentioned marine stations are well equipped with boats, engines and other marine accessories.Marine training falls under the waterways project: The watercourses of MFNP and QENP were in the past used extensively by poachers, ivory and bush meat smugglers and illegal fishing. Uganda Wildlife Authority had limited means to counter this until UCF took the initiative to start the Waterway’s project. The ‘model’ developed focused on supporting four important UWA park management objectives: Ranger deployment for Anti-Poaching / Law Enforcement / Security; Community rescue and safety programmes; Tourism rescue and safety programmes; and Monitoring and Research.
WILD Leo project. Wild Leo is another UCF supported project directed towards improving the capacity building of UWA rangers. A select team of rangers received Wildlife Intelligence and Leadership Development (WILD) training that has been specially designed for Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs). The main goals of WILD LEO project are: To provide ranger commanders with precise information about patrol coverage and the location of illegal activity. To provide prosecutors with better courtroom evidence to increase the likelihood that poachers and other criminals will be convicted. To collect photographic evidence that better describes the nature of criminal activity inside Uganda’s protected areasUCF expanded the pilot project from QECA to MFCA including provision of over 30 geolocation cameras and 50 rangers trained in data collection and analysis plus donated a computer. UCF is planning refresher training for the UWA rangers. WILD LEO training was and will be conducted by Dr. Andrew Lemieux, an American criminologist teaching at Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement. The WILD LEO uses advanced intelligence gathering and analysis techniques to study and prevent criminal activity in Uganda’s protected Areas using hybrid geo-location cameras with a GPS unit. Since WILD Leo introduction, UWA is winning court cases against poachers because of the photographic evidence that better describe the nature of crime.
Toyota buffalo ‘Making Conservation cool’: UCF through the campaign of ‘making conservation cool’, a strategy to encourage young people join conservation efforts in Uganda and a cool strategy to boost tourism among Ugandans is organizing one for Murchison falls conservation area.A trip to take the Toyota Buffalos (one of the most popular rugby clubs in Uganda and appealing among the young people) to Murchison Falls for a visit and also highlight the enormous work by UWA and UCF is planned to take place on 17th to 19th October 2014.
So far UCF has accomplished the following projects this year• Boat and engine for Semanya Marine station (operational)• Giraffe research done and samples sent to the USA for analysis • Conservation education rolled out in MF • Expanded WILDLEO to MF • 12 more geo location cameras donated to UWA • Provided solar for two ranger posts (Bulaya and Mupina) in southern MF • 10 bicycles• Launched the Elephant research – ongoing • Ongoing and to be complete before end of year;• Two ranger stations (Wangkwar and Bugana ranger stations) – to be handed over before end of year. • Marine training and first aid training for UWA rangers Future plans • Renovate the old building of the UWA museum into a vet Response lab and office• Provision of latrine and showers for Mupina and Bulaya ranger posts. End