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New ranger outpost advances wildlife security along the Uganda – DR Congo border

27 July 2020

Law enforcement in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park received a boost last Friday with the handover of a newly constructed ranger outpost to the country’s wildlife authority. The outpost, which was built with the financial support of the European Union, IUCN NL and IFAW, will support rangers in their mission to secure wildlife from poaching as well as safeguarding tourists visiting the area.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s most popular tourist attraction and boasts of 95 known species of mammals including buffaloes, hippopotami, crocodiles, elephants, leopards, lions and chimpanzees and over 620 species of birds. The park forms part of an extensive transboundary ecosystem that covers forest reserves and the adjacent Virunga National Park World Heritage Site, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Strategically located

Poaching is a major challenge in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, especially along the Lake Edward flats bordering DR Congo. The new ranger outpost is therefore strategically located at Lake Edwards Flats.

The 12-room outpost with solar and water facilities will accommodate rangers and facilitate closer collaboration amongst the two protected areas on transboundary patrols, including intelligence sharing and strengthening law enforcement capacity. It will curtail illegal activities along the Uganda-DR Congo border that often use the area as a crossing point from either side.

Cross-border collaboration

‘This outpost is an important step in the cross-border collaboration to halt illegal activities and improve the safety of wildlife and people,’ says Tina Lain, Senior Expert Environmental Justice at IUCN NL.

Wildlife crime has a major impact on biodiversity and compromises the security of communities. Since 2018, with support from the European Union, IUCN NL works with IFAW and Virunga National Park to strengthen cross-border community participation in combating illegal wildlife trade in the Greater Virunga Landscape and its protected areas in Uganda and DRC with the aim to contribute to the stabilization, sustainable development and management of this important cross-border nature reserve for future generations.

Lain: ‘The EU action in the Greater Virunga landscape has helped build bridges between the Congolese and the Ugandan Wildlife Authorities, rangers and communities and has laid the foundation for effective transboundary collaboration to reduce wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade.’  

Official opening ceremony

The Uganda Wildlife Authority took delivery of the 12-room facility at the official opening ceremony On Friday July 24. The ceremony was led by the Ugandan Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Tom Butime and His Excellency Attilio Pacifici, European Ambassador to Uganda.

This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of IUCN NL and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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