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The great wildlife populations dwindled drastically during the turbulent times of 1970s and 1980s in the Uganda safari destination of Murchison Falls National Park due to uncontrolled poaching practices.

The great white Rhino species were poached to extinction while over 14,000 elephants reduced to less than 800 individuals. The Northern Uganda insurgency also contributed massively to the devastation of the park’s surrounding communities which continued to put the survival of the wildlife species at stake as many had to rely on park resources for survival.

However, following the establishment of Uganda Wildlife Authority in the early 1990s and efforts from other International conservation organizations, Murchison Falls National Park is enjoying a wind of rejuvenation and the travelers on wildlife safaris in Uganda visiting the park are now finding it a rewarding destination.

The Conservation Organizations such as Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) and David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) have been supporting Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to fight poaching and in other endeavors that promote wildlife conservation.  The efforts included the establishment of new ranger posts since 2013 in the Delta area where the poachers used to navigate with canoes to set traps and snares, Got Layor and Bulayaare in the remote southern sector of the park and Kololo – on a good panoramic point in the northern sector.

Besides establishing the new ranger posts, the respective bodies have as well invested in training of rangers, strengthening equipment supply and legal department, veterinary unit and armory not forgetting a mobile ranger unit.

From these efforts, the wildlife populations have increased steadily especially herbivores including; Elephants, Buffaloes, Jackson’s hartebeest, Oribi, Uganda Kob, Oribi, the reedbuck and Rothschild Giraffes.  Other wildlife species such as Leopards, Lions, Hyenas among others are also thriving well in the park. This now keeps Murchison among the popular parks to explore on Uganda tours.

Under the Community approach or call it collaborative management, the Uganda Wildlife Authority in partnership with Conservation organizations like UCF intends to build economically sustainable community around the park and the projects including strengthening capacity building at Pakwach Community College, establishing a community center and financing livestock cooperatives among others are expected to yield returns regarding the cause.

Murchison Falls National Park is also a rich Uganda birding safari destination with 451 bird species including the rare Shoebill stork – one of the most sought after bird species in Uganda.

By Siima Simon Peter