Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (Rhino Fund Uganda) Article by Angie Genade
In the 1970s a small number of both white and black rhinos were translocated out of their range to Murchison Falls National Park. The civil unrest of the 1970s and early 1980s saw heavy poaching resulting in the extermination of Uganda’s rhino population, with the last rhino killed in 1983.
Following several years of political stability, a group of Ugandan citizens decided to reintroduce rhinos in Uganda and in 1997 formed an NGO called Rhino Fund Uganda. In 2001, two white rhinos were imported from Kenya and located at Entebbe Zoo, renamed the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. By 2004, the NGO had raised enough funding for the establishment of a sanctuary specifically for rhinos on a cattle farm offered by Captain Joe Roy and with the potential to create a habitat ideal for white rhinos. In 2005, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, just south of Nakitoma village on the main Kampala to Gulu highway, received its first four rhinos from Solio Ranch, Kenya with two more from the Disney Animal Kingdom, USA in 2006. These 6 rhinos constituted the founder group.
With very little other wildlife in the area apart from a number of the smaller antelopes such as bushbuck and oribi, there are no other large animals (such as elephants and buffalo) or predators (such as lions) to disturb either the rhinos and their human guardians.
Since most of the reserve has grass cover and there are very few grazing animals, there is a predisposition for the grass to grow overlong and fibrous. White rhinos prefer short and intermediate sized, sweet green grass and grass growth at Ziwa is essentially managed by controlled burning and/or by controlled communit- owned cattle grazing to the benefit of the rhinos and the surrounding communities.
The Vision of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (Rhino Fund Uganda)
To act as the main breeding centre for white rhinos in Uganda in order to provide founder individuals to start new rhino sanctuaries in the country.
The Mission of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (Rhino Fund Uganda)
To apply sound conservation principles whereby a safe environment is created in which rhinos can be conserved for future generations. To be the training centre for personnel involved in Uganda rhino conservation and as a centre of excellence in rhino research.
In 2018, only some 12 years after the 6 founder rhinos were introduced into the sanctuary, there are now 24 individuals – the only wild rhinos in Uganda making the country a “big five” tourist destination.
Such has been the success of the re-introduction project that, in 2018, Rhino Fund was presented with the Species Recovery Award by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities for
But Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is not just there to benefit rhino conservation – it also makes a major contribution to local communities and the nation as a whole. In 2018, some 18,000 people coming from all over the world will have viewed Uganda’s rhinos.
Rhino Fund Uganda employs some 140 local persons and trades with many others, which has greatly improved the welfare of the people in Nakasongola District.
It has always worked together with the District Local Leaders and the community which has boosted community development. To name but a few: The fund has constructed a community school (Hakuna Matata School) which provides free education to children in the community, there is the cattle program which accommodates 3000 head of community cattle, support is given to the Nakitoma and Kasozi Health Centers, Sub County schools and churches, community water wells are maintained and fuel for the police to conduct their work.
One special project undertaken has involved Lugogo Swamp Renovation where a total of one month of work clearing the swamp of the invasive plant Salvinia is undertaken annually under Rhino Fund supervision. Sixty members of the local community are employed and fed during this time.
The staff also assist local security agencies for crime control resulting in the arrest and prosecution of poachers. It has been reported that sub-county crime has reduced by 6%. Rhino Fund also sponsor & attend monthly Sub County security meetings, sponsor & attend quarterly District security meetings, fund District Police fuel monthly, built toilets for Kafu Police Post, roofed Mijeera Police Post, and fund District Police Day celebrations.
But back to the rhinos and the unique work that is undertaken
Recently the board of the Uganda Wildlife Authority appointed the Executive Director of Rhino Fund Uganda, Ms Angie Genade, as an Honorary Wildlife Officer
Having joined Rhino Fund Uganda, the managing organisation of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary near Nakitoma, in 2008, Angie has overseen the rise in the Sanctuary’s rhino population from 6 to 24 individuals.
Angie acknowledges that, while being the recipient of the award, it is due to her excellent management team and the hard work and dedication of all the Rhino Fund Uganda staff that has ensured the Sanctuary has gone from strength to strength year on year.
In the end, success is measured by the performance of the rhino population and the management regime applied which has ensured the rhinos continue to flourish.
Ugandan citizens and those foreigners living in Uganda, as well as travelling tourists, are welcomed to the Sanctuary.
Being only a three-hour drive from Kampala on a tarmac road, it is an ideal destination for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and the exceptional experience of being able to trek rhinos on foot.
ACTIVITIES OFFERED ON THE SANCTUARY – RHINO FUND UGANDA
All money paid for activities on the sanctuary goes directly to support rhino conservation
- On foot rhino trekking – see these magnificent creatures in the bush
- Shoebill canoe ride – on Lugogo swamp teeming with wetland birds
- Birding walks – with over 250 species birds
- Nature walks – who knows what you will find
- Night – with a guide who will translate the eerie night sounds and maybe even find a leopard or aardvark
www.rhinofund.org | Tel : (+256) 788 509252 or (+256) 772 713410
- AMUKA LODGE
- MID RANGE LODGE – CHILD-FRIENDLY WITH SWIMMING POOL
BUDGET / BACKPACKERS / CAMPING
- ZIWA RHINO LODGE
Contacts : firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel : (+256) 782 819777