Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is in final stages of relocating rhinos from Ziwa Rhino & Wildlife Ranch to other sanctuaries in Uganda as the sanctuary transitions to other uses.
The program was created in 2005 as a collaborative effort between UWA, the Rhino Fund Uganda and Ziwa Ranchers Ltd, owners of the 16,000-acre property where the rhino breeding has been taking place.
Both black and northern white rhinos were declared extinct throughout Uganda in 1983. The nation went without the magnificent beasts for close to 22 years until the translocation of six animals from overseas to Ziwa, four from neighboring Kenya and two from Disney Animal Kingdom in Florida.
The conservation world and rhino lovers worldwide rejoiced when a healthy rhino calf — the father from Kenya, the mother from the U.S. — was born at Ziwa on 24th June 2009. Uganda’s first baby rhino in 30 years was named Obama in honor of the American president at the time.
As of April 2021, the ranch’s rhino population stood at 33 individuals.
Ziwa has been a popular destination for Adventure Consults guests. A safari to Murchison Falls National Park was considered incomplete without a visit to the rhino sanctuary for a bushwalk in search of the endangered giants. It also made Murchison Falls the only place in Uganda where you could see the Big 5 of African wildlife: lions, leopards, elephant, buffalo and rhino.
According to reports reaching the Adventure Consults team, Ziwa Ranchers need the land for other investments, hence need to move the rhinos to other locations. The UWA says the animals are being protected by good security and their relocation is being handled professionally to ensure their safety isn’t compromised.
Plans are in progress to have the rhinos introduced to UWA managed protected areas. The relocation will take place after the completion of a feasibility study to identify suitable locations and conditions. Meanwhile, Ziwa sanctuary is closed to the public and no visitors are allowed until further notice.
The closure and immediate suspension of rhino tracking came as a shock to both Adventure Consults and the country as a whole. However, the dispersal of rhinos to more spacious protected areas will provide better grazing and give one or two of Uganda’s national parks the final species they need to round out their own Big 5.
In line with those developments, Adventure Consults is amending all existing reservations that include visits to Ziwa sanctuary. Where possible, they will offer alternative activities; where not possible, refunds might be an option. All standard itineraries that currently include Ziwa will also be amended, but this won’t happen until the UWA makes a final decision on rhino relocation.
Adventure Consults will keep all of its clients and partners updated on the situation. For immediate updates please email firstname.lastname@example.org.