Conservation of Elephants in key areas of Murchison Falls Conservation Area, Uganda

Fifty years ago Murchison Falls had the most elephants per square kilometer in Africa. Today after decades of uncontrolled poaching, a mere 500 elephants remain plus thousands of snares and gin traps, and large gangs of armed poachers. Southern Murchison accounts for over 2/3rds of the land area of the park yet it has few ranger posts to protect key elephant habitat. This project will create a permanent anti-poaching ranger post in the heart of the Sambiya river valley, southern MFCA, to block poachers coming from the Bulisa and Nebbi districts across Lake Albert. The Bugana Ranger post will be constructed out of recycled shipping containers, as used in Semanya Ranger Post. Uganda Conservation Foundation and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) will train and equip rangers with geolocation cameras to document patrols, to produce evidence for use in the prosecution of poachers, and to manage poaching data and trends.

UPDATE: January 2015

Final Report to International Elephant Foundation January 2015

Conservation of Elephants in Southern Murchison Falls Conservation Area, Uganda
A Partnership between the Uganda Conservation Foundation and Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Brief summary

If UWA and UCF can successfully protect southern Murchison Falls Conservation Area, Uganda’s elephant population could triple in ten years, and many other species numbers could also recover handsomely. After forty years of complete neglect and few patrols, the last years has seen a significant increase in patrol coverage – with a near 100% prosecution rate.

Based on both the previous research book ‘the elephants of Bunyoro (Law, Parker and Johnston, 1974) and field reconnaissance, three ranger posts were last year in southern MFCA to protect key habitats known to be used by the remaining 500 elephants. The Bulaya Ranger Post is on the most easterly side, on the Bulaya River (stream). Others are Mupina and Bugana.

Four rangers are now present in each post – and poacher strongholds are being reclaimed. Where once the largest density of elephants in Africa lived, and where culling first took place, there will be a recovery once again.

Having a permanently based ranger capability in the area is a prerequisite to ensure that a foundation of protection, law enforcement and development can occur.
UWA now in a better position to defend and protect the wildlife.