UWA COMMISSIONS ANOTHER RANGER POST IN MURCHISON FALLS NP
Uganda Wildlife Authority on Friday January 16th, 2015, commissioned yet another ultra modern-fully furnished ranger post in the Wangkwar sector of Murchison Falls National Park, to intensify the fight against illegal activities particularly elephant poaching in the neighbouring Tangi valley and top of falls area.
The six unit block powered by solar energy, is complete with a container unit for the mobile patrol force, a giant water tank and stores. It was built and furnished with funding from the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Tusk Trust, International Elephant Foundation, Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) which has already built four similar ranger posts in the same conservation area, was the implementing agency.
The ranger post strategically located near Wangkwar gate close to Purongo area of Nwoya district, is built to strengthen UWA’s law enforcement efforts in that sector where poaching levels had reached alarming proportions due to its remoteness from the nearest patrol posts, said Patrick Agaba, the programmes officer, Uganda Conservation Foundation, at the handover of the facility to UWA management led by Mr. Tom Okello the Conservation Area Manager (CAM).
Mr. Julius Obwona, the law enforcement Warden for MFNP could not hide his excitement.”We previously had two grass thatched units here using the facility as a listening post with a thin force on the ground. Now it becomes a fully operational area with permanent ranger presence to carry out patrols and surveillance of the hot spots around Tangi valley,” he said.
Mr. Tom Okello Obong , the CAM-MFCA said at the handover ceremony presided over by Ms Leslie Carvell, an ardent supporter of UCF, that he invited UCF through its founding director Mr. Michael Keigwin to assist in the fight against illegal activities in Murchison Falls CA, following the successes the charity fund had registered in Queen Elizabeth CA where marine stations and ranger posts had been established by UCF.
He said the new post is located in an area known to be a famous habitat for African elephants which are a target for the ivory seeking poachers .The nearest ranger post was Kololo while the park headquarters is 30 kilometers away, he added.
Mr. Okello is optimistic that with this facility in place, UWA will dominate the Tangi valley and other hot spots making the life risky for the poachers .He commended UCF for similar interventions including construction of Bugana(Buliisa), Mupina and Bulaya ranger posts in the southern sector on top of Semanya post in the northern bank ,marine posts at the ferry landing and the delta area, donation of patrol boats, engines and geo-location cameras. He revealed that with these efforts, fewer wire snares and metal traps are recovered by his rangers during the patrols and there is significant decrease in the poaching of wildlife.
Mr. Andy Roberts, a trustee of the UCF implored the rangers to leverage on decent accommodation and improved facilities to scale up their work in protecting the endangered wildlife which is the bedrock of tourism in Uganda.
The function was graced by the first runner-up, Miss Tourism Uganda 2014 and conservation ambassador, Jean-Marie Roberto Magoba who pledged her total commitment and support towards wildlife conservation and promotion of tourism in Uganda..
The Uganda Conservation Foundation was founded ten years ago to promote and support Uganda in its efforts in wildlife and nature conservation through the delivery of practical projects that support the recovery of wildlife and nature.
Its first project,a 25km trench and 13 valley fences bordering the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area ,is still helping to prevent human/wildlife conflict in the area so that the communities are able to grow food crops and enjoy good work relations with UWA