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UWA Backtracks On Plans To Expand Ajai Wildlife Reserve :: Uganda Radionetwork
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UWA Backtracks On Plans To Expand Ajai Wildlife Reserve

In December 2022, UWA announced plans to acquire an additional 26.58 square kilometers of land on the southern part of the wildlife reserve, following a recommendation of the rhino habitat feasibility study that found out that the current state of the reserve cannot support substantial rhino breeding.
John Makombo, the Director in Charge of Conservation at Uganda Wildlife Authority

Audio 4

The Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA has backtracked on plans to acquire additional land at Ajai Wildlife Reserve in Madi Okollo district to enable expansion of Rhino conservation, citing community resistance.

In December 2022, UWA announced plans to acquire an additional 26.58 square kilometers of land on the southern part of the wildlife reserve, following recommendation of the rhino habitat feasibility study that found out that the current state of the reserve cannot support substantial rhino breeding.

John Makombo, the Director in Charge of Conservation at Uganda Wildlife Authority told the district leaders on Wednesday that they have shelved the move after they received petitions from the Oyomu community and some political leaders within the district challenging the move.

According to Makombo, they intend to move cautiously and carry out more consultations with the affected community and the district leaders to resolve the matter amicably so that more land is acquired to better accommodate the proposed 20 white Rhinos to be reintroduced in the reserve next year.

//Cue in: “We got petitions…

Cue out: … will help us.”//

Among those who have petitioned the Authority and the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities over the proposed acquisition of additional land include; Joanne Aniku Okia, the Woman Member of Parliament for Madi Okollo district, Ronald Afidra Olema, the MP for Lower Madi county and Madimva Rokoni L. Odama, a concerned member of the Onyomu community.

Currently, the land in question which is located next to Pawor Seed Secondary School is occupied by the Lali and Oyomu communities.

However, Geofrey Asea, the Madi Okollo district vice LC  V chairperson expressed displeasure with some politicians whom he accused of playing double standards which could delay the planned reintroduction of the white Rhinos back to Ajai wildlife reserve.

//Cue in: “The petition is…

Cue out: … to this project.”//

Meanwhile, Reuben Candia Michael, the councilor for Rigbo sub county notes that UWA should figure out how to continue with their quest to expand Ajai wildlife Reserve since it will be difficult to acquire the additional land in the near future due to the growing population.

//Cue in: “I am a bit…

Cue out: … acquire a land.”//

But, Swaib Toko, the Madi Okollo Resident District Commissioner (RDC) has pledged to have special engagements with the aggrieved leaders and resolve their grievances.

//Cue in: “I wanted to…

Cue out: … and we sit.”//

Currently, Ajai Wildlife Reserve which named after a very powerful local colonial chief Ajai  spans 166 square kilometers. Before the Wildlife Reserve was gazetted in 1965, it was home to 60 of Uganda's 80 remaining white rhino.    

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