Protecting the king of the jungle

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th March 2001 03:00 AM

A special meeting to protect Uganda's lions will take place at the Murchison Falls National Park on Saturday, March 17.

By Charles Wendo A special meeting to protect Uganda's lions will take place at the Murchison Falls National Park on Saturday, March 17. Wildlife experts, business people and diplomats are to discuss how the various groups can cooperate to protect the 'king of the jungle', in a workshop at the Nile Safari Lodge. Dr. Christine Dranzoa, chairperson of the advisory committee of the Lion Project, says Uganda's lions suffer attacks by human beings as well as diseases. The lion project based in the wildlife department at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University, is carrying out research on populations of large predator animals and the diseases affecting them. It gets support from the Dutch Zoo Federation. "As a teaching and research institution we benefit from collaboration in such a workshop. The whole essence is to see how tourism activities can benefit conservation. We hope this may not be the last," says Dranzoa, head of the wildlife department. Dranzoa says the lion population in Queen Elizabeth National Park is estimated at 200 while Kidepo National Park has about 20. In the vast Murchison Falls National Park, the project's process of estimating the population is still at the early stages. No lion has been seen in Lake Mburo National Park for more than half a decade. This raises fears that they have all been poisoned to death by the surrounding cattle-keeping populations who accuse the predators of eating their livestock. The organisers of the workshop hope that people who run tourism-related businesses would be able to contribute towards the conservation of the lions since the Lion Project boosts tourism. Inns of Africa, which owns the Nile Safari Lodge, is sponsoring part of the workshop as a gesture of support for conservation. The Managing Director, Mr. Zahid Alam, says that the company would provide information to tourists who stay at the Nile Safari Camp so that they can make donations for the Lion Project. "We have agreed to provide information to all tourists who will in future stay at the camp. We expect them to donate towards this project, a legacy which we can leave behind for many generations to come. Inns of Uganda is committed to participating in conservation of wildlife and nature," he says. Ends

Protecting the king of the jungle

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