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UWA builds lab to aid in animal conservation

By Titus Kakembo

Added 21st February 2017 08:07 AM

The authority is investing in the construction of a laboratory to serve as a research and consulting point for the entire Great Lakes region.

UWA builds lab to aid in animal conservation

The authority is investing in the construction of a laboratory to serve as a research and consulting point for the entire Great Lakes region.

Fresh from a recent threat of bird flu, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is not taking any more chances when it comes to diseases affecting wildlife in protected areas.

To conserve effectively, the authority is investing in the construction of a laboratory to serve as a research and consulting point for the entire Great Lakes region.

"Uganda government is investing more than sh800m," Dr. Margaret Drici told the Minister of state for tourism Godfrey Kiwanda. "In the past when we found a carcass of wild game it was no big deal. But this will be no more, upon completion, of our state of the art laboratory."

The facility in advanced degrees of completion is expected to handle post mortems and forensic examinations for every death that occurs.

 "The animals in the ten National Parks do not know nor recognize artificial borders created by human beings. They intermarry, reproduce and have families in the neighboring countries. For example, elephants with polygamous families monitor their off springs from one country to another," added Dr. Drici.

"Unfortunately they are killed by intruders of their habitat."

With the laboratory in place, blood and dung sample tastes will enable vets monitor the animal health and respond accordingly. This was revealed during the ongoing Tulambule (Let us tour) of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

If a given herd is behaving unusually, their health will be investigated.

During the occasion, the UWA director Edgar Bihanga testified that the population of most animals in the country have lately shot up.

"Elephant population in Murchison and Kidepo National Park shot up from 2000 to 5000," "Likewise we now have a handsome population of Giraffes, 8000 Zebras, Antelopes, Hippos, reptiles, primates and birds."

 The opposition MP Winnie Kiza noted that a lot that needs to be done is desired.

 "With different heights as a result of the high mountain, we accommodate a variety of animals, 650 different species of birds and primates," boasted Kiza. "The challenge is to enable the communities living within the park to avoid conflict with wildlife."

"The hot air balloon adventure is a new attraction on the menu for tourist to take their pick."

During a boat ride on Kazinga Channel, Kiwanda noted that humans and animals can amicably co exist as it was since the Stone Age.

"It is working in 370 sq km of Lake Mburo National Park," said Kiwanda. "Using the resources, communities can improve on road networks and education using the 20 percent given back to them from revenue collected by UWA from tourists."

Kiwanda stressed that, although the populations of wild game of the 1960s cannot be revived, the volume of tourists can be boosted.

"We are targeting 4m tourists by 2040," said Kiwanda. "Let us enable them spend more while here. Given the improved infrastructure, a hospitable populace and prevailing peace - it is possible. In the process do not forget to tap into domestic tourism."  

UWA spokesperson Simplicious Gessa revealed that exhibits got with suspects have to be transported to Kampala or Entebbe for verification.

"We nab suspects with antelope or buffalo meat and they allege it is goat's or cow's meat," said Gessa. "We are doing everything to conserve nature in the marsh lands and dense woodlands."

He said rhinos were hunted to extinction in the 1970 by soldiers, trouphy hunters and game meat lovers.

"The rhino horn is treasured in Asia for erectile dysfunction and several ailments curing," said Gessa. "People are an intrinsic threat to nature. We have had losses of lives among our staff. This is in addition to wild fires gutting acres of land and property."

 

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