Land Wrangles Force UWA to relocate Rhinos at Zziwa sanctuary

Land Wrangles Force UWA to relocate Rhinos at Zziwa sanctuary : The Uganda Wildlife Authority is set to relocate 33 Rhinos at Ziwa Sanctuary over prevailing land wrangles at the sanctuary that have become a threat to the wellbeing of the Rhinos. The Uganda Wildlife Authority made this announcement, a few days after it announced it was beefing up security at the sanctuary amidst the on-going wrangles.

In a press statement issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Authority states that it’s a government body mandated to protect wildlife and all wildlife resources in the country and the on-going land wrangles between the Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR) and the Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) have necessitated it to ensure the safety of the Rhinos.

Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR)  are the owners of the land where the rhinos are bred and the Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) is a non- governmental organisation that manages the rhinos.

First by beefing up the security at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary located in Nakasongola district and now relocating the Rhinos to a much safer place that will ensure the rhinos are still preserved and kept healthy.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority in more efforts to ensure the safety of the Rhinos, it has closed the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to the public and all persons that are not authorised to access the premises till further notice rather till the misunderstandings are resolved and the Authority deems it safe for the Rhinos.

And now the Uganda Wildlife Authority is relocating the 33 rhinos that currently make their home at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in more efforts to ensure the Rhinos’ safety as the land wrangles and other misunderstandings between the above mentioned parties are being resolved.

The rhinos will safely be transferred and introduced to other Uganda wildlife Authority protected areas, where they will be bred and managed in the interim. Feasibility studies have already been done by the Authority to identify and secure these other areas where the rhinos will be momentarily and UWA plans to start the relocation process soon.

It’s the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s hope that these land wrangles and other misunderstandings between Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR) and the Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) will be resolved soon and that the operations at the sanctuary will be restored to normalcy sooner than later.

Zziwa sanctuary
Zziwa sanctuary

The Uganda wildlife Authority has further noted that the Authority is not part of the on-going wrangles and it remains impartial through the whole resolution process. Together with the ministry for tourism the Authority is facilitating platforms for the misunderstandings to be resolved.

Roy’s family the legal owners of the land in Ziwa where the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary sits under the Zziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches say that Roy gave away 16,000 acres of his land to the Rhino Fund Uganda in 2002 when they approached him with a proposal to reintroduce rhinos in the country and was asked to provide the Fund with land. Roy in that same year relocated several of his cattle to make room for the rhinos.

Roy as the person who donated his land for the conservation of the rhinos was made part of the board of directors for the board that made decision and this was put in agreement and signed off by both parties. Both parties have had a good working relationship until recently when Roy was allegedly removed from the board unceremoniously and was barred from accessing the Zziwa Rhino sanctuary after the Rhino Fund Uganda put a caveat on the land; the 16,000 acres of land that were donated by Charles Roy and where the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary sits.

It’s a combination of these incidences and other things that caused Roy to demand the Rhino sanctuary be taken off his land and his land returned to him effective immediately; stating that the Rhino Fund Uganda is seeking to grab his land.

These land wrangles are not new, in fact they have been around for a number of years however this is the first time they have escalated to this extent causing the Uganda Wildlife to relocate the rhinos.

Amidst all these misunderstandings UWA remains committed to ensure sustainable management of wildlife resources and supervise wildlife activities in Uganda both within and outside the protected areas.

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