EU Boosts UWA Operations with 12-room Ranger Outpost in Queen Elizabeth Park

The accommodation facility that was handed over to UWA by European Union.

The European Union (EU) has handed over a 12-room ranger accommodation facility to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) which will bolster operations against poaching and other illegal activities.

The facility in Queen Elizabeth national park was officially handed over to the Minister of Tourism, Tom Butime by the EU delegation to Uganda on Friday.

The EU Ambassador to Uganda, Attilio Pacifici handed over the facility to Minister Butime at Simama Ranger out post in Ishasha Sector, Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

Attilio Pafici was flanked by ambassadors  from Italy, Ireland, Belgium, France, Austria, Hungary and the Ugandan ambassador to the Nordic countries Nimisha Madhvani.   

He said the EU is supportive of the growth of  Uganda’s tourism sector and they are supporting wildlife protection because Uganda’s tourism is largely wildlife based. 

“We know you have made  great strides in  conserving Uganda’s wildlife and we want  to support you to do a  better job of protecting the  animals in the parks because your country’s tourism depends a lot on wildlife,” said the Ambassador.

He further said that ambassadors from EU countries are supporting  the quick recovery of Uganda’s tourism sector after COVID-19 so that the country continues to earn the much needed foreign exchange and create  jobs for the citizens through tourism.   

The Minister said it was important to have the outpost in Ishasha given the strategic nature  of the area.  

“This new Ranger post at Simama is very strategic  and key in controlling  poaching and other illegal activities in this part of Queen  Elizabeth National Park. This area was identified as one of the key hot spots for poaching during the preparation of the  Park’s Law Enforcement Strategy a few years ago and for UWA to dominate the area and address  the poaching threat, they needed a ranger post, which  has now been built”.  

He said tourists  to the national park want to feel  that they are safe and the existence of outpost  provides that assurance.

The Minister lauded the European Union for funding the construction of the ranger outpost and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in collaboration with International  Union for Conservation of Nature Netherlands (IUCN NL), for supervising the construction.

Security in the national  parks has been boosted  to ensure that when the country  opens its borders to international visitors, their safety is guaranteed.

“I want to use this opportunity to assure the public and the international community that our parks are very safe and secure,” Butime said.

The security  of tourists in the parks is a high priority  for the government and we shall continue to make strategic and operational interventions to ensure that our parks and other recreational facilities are safe for tourists”.   

He  said that Uganda’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is  unrivalled and the country is one of the safest for people  to visit.

The Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Sam Mwandha thanked the EU and IFAW for the support  saying that the facility will motivate the rangers to work harder to ensure that  wildlife in the area is protected.  

He added that wildlife in all the national parks  has been protected and all  savannah parks are now open to the public.

The facility will accommodate rangers and facilitate closer monitoring of wildlife, enhance transboundary patrols, including  intelligence sharing and strengthening law  enforcement capacity. It will curtail illegal  activities along the Uganda-DR Congo border.

It was funded by the European Union and supervised  by International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The facility will ensure the existence of our personnel  in the area and enhance operations aimed at fighting  illegal wildlife activities. 

The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities is working together with other relevant Ministries and agencies to come up with a mechanism of opening the country’s borders to allow international visitors into Uganda in a safer way. 

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