Authorities of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Queen Elizabeth National park have explained why Elephants recently moved out of the national park and invaded part of Kasese Municipality town.

Posiano Zuma the Queen Elizabeth National park area conservation manager said Elephants have the biggest memory noting that they were trying to remember where they used to pass and feed on in the past years.

Zuma said some areas which were originally part of the National park were encroached on by people and turned them into human settlements hence reducing on the size of the animals’ grazing area. Queen Elizabeth National park is one Uganda’s largest national park measuring about 1,978km² but of recent, it has suffered several encroachments with some groups like pastoralists establishing permanent homes in some parts.

He attributed this to population increase an issue he said has put a lot of pressure on protected areas especially the national parks. “When the population was small, wild animals also had a big area to feed on and move freely but in some parts, it is no longer the case,” Zuma said. It is also important to note that invasive weeds in the park have also affected the survival of wild animals.

The Bushenyi district environment officer Vicent Katate cautioned those who have turned national parks and other protected areas like forests, wetlands into their settlements to be aware that any time nature will re-claim those areas back. “The reason you see floods displacing people in some areas is that those areas were not meant for human settlements,” Katate said.

Facts about Queen Elizabeth National park

  • Size: 1,978km².
  • Queen Elizabeth spans the equator line; monuments on either side of the road mark the exact spot where it crosses latitude 00.
  • The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.
  • The Katwe explosion craters mark the park’s highest point at 1,350m above sea level, while the lowest point is at 910m, at Lake Edward.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes, and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for the classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.

Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.

As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.

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