Uganda is credited to have launched the ten (10) year National Rhino Strategy. The Uganda’s Minister for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities launched the strategic plan in the country’s capital Kampala at the onset of the three (3) days deliberation that was conducted at Kampala Sheraton Hotel with attendance of counts of industry participants both local and international.
It can be noted that at the turn of the 20th century, the western explorers ventured into safaris to Africa including Uganda safaris
captivated by rolling wilderness landscapes and savannah plains. A
number of them including the Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill
and Theodore Roosevelt the American President and a naturalist traveled
to Uganda. During such times, exploration was coupled with big game
hunting and shooting of wildlife was a common phenomenon. In fact on the
cover of his book African Journeys, Churchill poses with a dead Rhino
in the Uganda safari destination of Ajai Wildlife Reserve.
With such occurrence, the population of rhinos got threatened and in
1924 an article was run in the bulletin of Zoological Society of New
York drawing attention to the likely danger of northern white Rhino
extinction and it is from this that the efforts to conserve the Rhinos
emerged from. In 1951, the populations had increased steadily. For
example in west Nile the populations had increased to 300 by 1951 and in
1955, they had increased to 1955.
However due to unstable political
climate in 1970s and 1980s, the poachers took advantage of the
situation and hunted Rhinos to extinction. In 1982, the last white Rhino
was observed in Murchison Falls National Park while the year that
followed the last eastern black Rhino was observed in Kidepo Valley
With the inception of a stable government in 1980s,
peace has not only reigned on people alone but wildlife too. Legal
structures were put in place, wildlife act enacted, more protected areas
gazetted and new conservation approaches explored enabling wildlife
regeneration to occur. The interest of restoring those that had faced
extinction gained ground as the international community had gained hopes
for the continuity of wildlife in Uganda.
The Rhino Fund Uganda in
the month of May 1997 under the guidance of Ray and Dr. Eve drafted the
structure and put together efforts that saw the Rhinos arrive in 2005
and settle at their current home Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which has become a
popular attraction for travelers on safaris in Uganda.
Other efforts have since followed especially strategic management plans
to ensure that conservation is in line with the international and
regional best practices and these include the Crested Crane Action Plan
and Shoe bill Action Plan. Therefore, developing the Rhino strategic
plan is considered timely and seen as positive step to ensure their
The UWA chief Dr. Andrew Seguya noted that Uganda is a
rhino range state and thus a member of the East Africa Rhino Management
Group (ERMG) along with African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG). Thus
Uganda aims at establishing a rightful position where she can apply
conservation according to the ideals of the respective groups.
National Rhino Strategy is drawn with guidance from 2014 Uganda Wildlife
Policy and the Uganda Wildlife Act Cap 200 of 2000 which gives the
Executive Director the mandate to draft the strategic plans guiding the
authority to the realization of its objectives.
features security, Habitat loss and modification, poaching, geo
politics, international markets diseases along with other health
challenges, human-wildlife conflict, inbreeding depression,
infrastructure, oil not forgetting tourism development.
It is noted
that in the future, Rhinos will be re-introduced to their original
habitats where they can breed and multiply and continue to be
encountered on Uganda safari.