This week Uganda Wildlife Authority with support from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Chayenne Mountain Zoo in the United States and other local conservation groups started on an exercise to translocate a total of 15 giraffes (10 females and 5 males) from Murchison Falls National Park to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve north eastern Uganda.
According to Dr. Panta Kasoma who was representing Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Board of Trustees, the reintroduction of giraffes in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is in line with UWA’s strategic objectives among which is the reintroduction of extinct species. “This exercise addresses one of our key conservation objective of restoring and managing viable populations of extinct or endangered species. We are happy that we now have giraffes in Pian Upe after very many years and we hope this will further enhance tourism in the reserve”, he stated.
This three weeks translocation exercise that has seen so far 5 ‘Critically Endangered’ Nubian giraffes released safe and sound into the wildlife reserve is seen as a way “to enhance the long-term survival of this species, restore natural biodiversity and long-term economic benefits to the entire wildlife conservation value chain.
In a bid to enhance the tourism potential of Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, a similar translocation exercise of 92 impalas from Lake Mburo National Park which is the known natural home of the impalas to the same wildlife reserve was conducted last year – this continued effort by UWA to protect this wildlife reserve has paid off resulting into an increase in the numbers of Roan Antelepes, Elands, Zebras, Hartebeets, and Cheetahs among others.
“Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve under Mt Elgon conservation area in Nakapiripirit District Karamoja – One day soon will be named a National Park”
Why Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve?
This little-known Wildlife Reserve extends up to 2,788 square kilometers of semi-arid country to the north of Mount Elgon, making it the second largest protected area in Uganda after Murchison Falls National Park in the north western side of the country. In addition to recently introduced Impalas and now giraffes, the reserve has been home to a diverse selection of dry-country wildlife, starting from patas monkey, cheetah to Burchell’s zebras and roan antelope, though the populations are still very thin and scattered.
Pian Upe is home to two pastoralist tribes: the Pian being a sub-group of the Karamajong, while the Upe are a Kalenjin-speaking people also known as the Pokot. This area has a history of armed conflicts related to cattle rustling which has since been resolved following the disarmament of the two tribes in 2011, making this wildlife reserve an area of interest for both potential gateway to Karamoja/Kidepo and as an intriguing goal for those on a Uganda safari to the Elgon region.
Need to learn more about this special wildlife reserve? Read more here: Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve