UWA Begins Translocation of Giraffes

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Rothschild giraffes are one of the most important and common wildlife species that you will encounter during game drives within the Murchison Falls National Park. Due to their high demand within the National Park, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the top Wildlife body in the country decided to translocate some of the giraffes from the Northern bank to the Southern banks of the River Nile within Murchison. The plan was to transfer 20 giraffes but by the time of writing this article, only 10 of them were already transferred. These mammals were captured within only 5 days but were first kept in a Boma (enclosure) near the Tanga gate of Murchison Falls National Park near Pakwach.

These giraffes crossed the Nile River on a ferry in shifts and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) expects to finish the operation by the end of August 2017. The capture team from the Uganda Wildlife Authority supported by the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) captured the first giraffe close to Pakuba Airstrip within Murchison Falls National Park.

This translocation programme is supported by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation as a way of expanding the home range of the Rothschild giraffes. Around 1200 Rothschild giraffes live within the Northern banks of River Nile in Murchison Falls National Park hence the need to transfer them to the Southern banks so that tourists who visit the latter can also see these exceptionally towering animals while on a safari in Uganda.

The Murchison Falls National Park is located in north-western Uganda, on the Northern side of the Albertine Rift Valley and extends for an area of 3840 square kilometers making it the largest Protected Area in Uganda. This Park was gazzeted in 1920 hence it is the oldest Park within the Pearl of Africa (Uganda). Murchison Falls National Park is shared by a number of districts that include Masindi, Kiryandongo and Buliisa in its Southern part and Nwoya district in its Northern part. The most fascinating feature within this destination is the spectacular Murchison Falls. Not only that, there are over 350 exceptional species of birds and more than 76 mammal species including Antelopes (Uganda Kobs, Topis, Common Elands, Defassa waterbucks, bushbucks, Oribis and Hartebeests), Chimpanzees within Budongo Forest Reserve, Olive baboons, Buffaloes, Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Spotted Hyenas and the Rothschild Giraffes.

The Rothschild Giraffes stay on one end (bank) of the Nile River (Northern side) because they cannot swim although they can walk through shallow waters with their long necks out of the water. These animals have for this reason remained on the Northern side of the Murchison Falls National Park because the Nile River is very deep and extensive as it goes to Lake Albert. Therefore, the Uganda Wildlife Authority translocated about 18 Rothschild giraffes some years back and so far, three of these animals have given birth hence adding their number to 21 within the Southern side of Murchison Falls National Park.

In conclusion, with the translocation of the Rothschild giraffes from the Northern to the Southern end of the Murchison Falls National Park as a way of expanding their home range and balancing the wildlife species hence tourists who visit either of the parts will achieve the same wildlife viewing satisfaction.

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