“Our aim is to enhance the long term survival of the species, restore natural biodiversity and long-term economic benefits to the local and national economy."
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has started the process of translocation of 20 giraffes from the northern to the southern sector of the Murchison falls national park.
Two giraffes will be moved to the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) in Entebbe.
This was revealed by the acting executive director of UWA, Nightingale Mirembe during the flag-off ceremony held at the authority's headquarters in Kampala on Friday.
Mirembe said the three-week-long exercise is intended to expand the range of giraffes in light of the oil and gas activities on the northern bank of the park where they currently range.
"UWA is not certain about the likely impact of oil developments. It's therefore reasonable that as a conservation institution we do not take chances but put in place reasonable measure to save the small population still existing in Uganda," she explained.
Mirembe added that this will also help to establish viable, free-ranging giraffe population on the south bank of the park to enhance ecosystem balance and utilization.
She also said the exercise is aimed at boosting tourism on the southern sector of the Nile and increase revenue for conservation activities.
"Our aim is to enhance the long term survival of the species, restore natural biodiversity and long-term economic benefits to the local and national economy."
James Musinguzi, the executive director UWEC, said the move would promote conservation education and awareness at the center through enhanced wildlife species diversity in a quick-to -reach tourism area.
"The 2 giraffes that have been donated to us will be part of the exhibit that will be used in community education and awareness with particular interest in the enhancement of conservation knowledge of young school going children," he explained.
The sh200m exercise was partly funded by UWA internally generated revenue and support from other partner institutions including the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF).
The executive director of GCF, Julian Fennessy, revealed that they choose to partner with UWA on this exercise in the bid to easily assess and monitor the population trends, threats and health of giraffe population in Uganda.
"We want to develop key giraffe conservation outputs to support giraffe long-term conservation and management in Murchison Falls," he said.
UWA last year translocated 15 giraffes to Lake Mburo from Murchison Falls. They also translocated 86 impalas and 06 zebras to Katonga from the ranches around Lake Mburo and 17 Elands from Lake Mburo to Kidepo Valley National Park among others.
Uganda currently boosts of over 900 giraffes surviving at Kidepo Valley, Murchison falls and Lake Mburo National parks. At the global, the international union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that only 2,500 mature Rothschild's giraffe individuals may be surviving in the world and species is therefore threatened with extinction.