UWA gets new marine anti poaching unit at Murchisons Falls NP


The Uganda Wildlife Authority has recently launched the Semanya Marine Ranger Station on the banks of the River Nile, from where regular anti poaching patrols are now operating to monitor in particular the open access across Lake Albert into the Murchisons Falls National Park.

The station was built and equipped through financial contributions from a number of conservation supporters but in particular it was the effort of the Uganda Conservation Foundation (www.ugandacf.org) which has been working hand in hand with UWA to fight the poaching menace. Leading Ugandan corporates, like the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Nile Breweries and Sadolin Paints, among others, equally gave donations as did the Murchisons Falls International Fishing Tournament, an annual event with proceeds going to conservation causes.

Nearly two dozen rangers are now based at the station and currently operate with one boat, though additional equipment is reportedly being procured to make the outstation even more effective.

Already on day one of operations were several poachers caught, reportedly posing as innocent fishermen but found with snares and other poachers tools, leading to their immediate arrest and now awaiting prosecution.

The Nile delta, where the Victoria Nile enters Lake Albert, is a maze of little islands and swamps, rich in game and as such a tempting site for poachers, who can access the national park side of the lake across the open waters with little opposition from rangers, until now that is.

Poaching has moved from subsistence level to take a more commercial outlook in recent years, as in particular elephant have been targeted in Uganda, though plains game is much sought after too to fuel a growing bush meat trade. However, as UWA emerged from the turmoil inflicted on the organization by the rash actions of the self-styled Minister of Crocodiles and his choice chairman of the board, both of them thankfully no longer in office, has the focus on antipoaching gained momentum once again. Thanks to the Uganda Conservation Foundation and all the donors to this immensely valuable and important addition to the Murchisons Falls NP infrastructure.