By Patrick Jaramogi
Kampala, Uganda: Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) successfully conducted an operation on January 3, 2018 and rescued three male lions in Kiyenge village, Kabirizi Parish, Lake Katwe Sub-county, Kasese District.
The operation was aimed at capturing the lions that had strayed outside Queen Elizabeth National Park and trans-locating them back to the park so that they don’t cause any danger to the neighbouring community.
TheSpy has learnt that captured lions were fitted with a satellite collar and Hip with a Very High Frequency (VHF) in 2018 to monitor their movement in a bid to address the lion-human conflict that is rife at the interface. The UWA Communications Manager Bashir Hangi said the satellite collars enables their teams to locate the lions and their movements easily. “The rescue team was comprised of UWA rangers, staff of Uganda Carnivore program (UCP) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS),” said Hangi in a presser issued on Saturday.
The lions were lured with a bite of buffalo legs and recorded sounds of prey animals including warthogs, hyenas and buffalo calves. “The calls lured out the lions to the set bite from where a darting vehicle was positioned nearby. All the 3 big male lions arrived at the stage and struggled to take off the bite that was securely fastened,” he explained. Veterinary doctors stationed in the area darted the three lions and applied anesthesia using special guns called dart guns) at intervals of ten minutes and the sleeping lions were loaded and transported back to the national park under the close watch of the veterinary doctors who kept monitoring vital signs throughout the journey. The lions were released on Friday at Kasenyi plains, a distance of around 20km away, from their natural area.
The Executive Director UWA Mr. Sam Mwandha commended the rescue team for commitment, professionalism and hard work. “This is the true conservation spirit; we have conservation heroes who put their lives at risk to save wildlife and also protect the communities”, said Mr. Mwandha. Mwandha said that UWA will continue to embrace technology which enables quicker tracking of animals for purposes of monitoring the movements so that they can be easily prevented from going outside the parks and disturb the communities. He added that with increased use of technology, such operations will continue being undertaken as one of the ways of minimizing Human Wildlife Conflicts. UWA is responsible for the management of wildlife in and outside the formally gazetted Protected Areas (PAs).The organization currently manages 10 National Parks and 12 Wildlife Reserves and provides technical guidance to the management of 5 Community Wildlife Areas and 13 Wildlife Sanctuaries.