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UWA translocates 200 kobs for Kidepo's lions

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has commenced translocating over 200 kobs from Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve in Hoima to Kidepo Valley national park in northern Uganda.

The exercise is aimed at transferring a total of 30 male kobs and 170 female kobs. According to John Makombo, the conservation director for UWA who flagged off the exercise at the Kabwoya; the exercise will last for about two weeks. The whole exercise is expected to cost around Shs 100 million.

The first batch of 30 kobs was this week successfully delivered to Kidepo. According to Makombo; UWA seeks to provide easier hunting animals to Kidepo's lions so as to reduce the chances of lions dying in the battle with buffaloes which are their main source of food at the moment.

Secondly, Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve is one of the places that might be affected once oil drilling commences in Hoima. At the flag off; Makombo said that the transfer of Kobs is an attempt to create a safe haven where they can relocate kobs from Kabwoya which might be affected by oil spilling.

In regard to the population of the kobs in Kabwoya; Makombo highlighted the issue of huge population growth among kobs there which is also causing a survival threat in the reserve. He said that the translocation will reduce the demand for pasture in the reserve. Kabwoya reserve hosts an estimated 8,000 kobs and other wildlife.

This is not the first time that UWA is translocating kobs to Kidepo. In 2017, a total of 110 kobs were moved to Kidepo. The exercise also aims at boosting the ecosystem of Kidepo Valley NP, a conservation area that has been rated among the best national parks in Africa.

Kidepo NP is one of the most scenic and unspoiled national parks in the country. Though located in the remote district of Kaabongo, it is one of the best destinations visited by tourists who take Uganda safaris through the northern circuit trail. It is home to a wide range of wildlife, including lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and various antelope species. The translocation of the kobs to Kidepo is expected to boost the park's tourism potential and provide a new habitat for the Kobs.

Kobs are a type of antelope commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa. They are known for their distinctive physical features, including long, spiralled horns and reddish-brown fur. Kobs are herbivores and feed on grasses, leaves, and other vegetation.

They are also part of Uganda’s national emblem.UWA executive director Sam Mwandha says that the translocation of the kobs will help boost the numbers of kobs in Kidepo.

He said, "the current population of kobs in Kidepo is not what we want. Therefore, we have to reinforce it".

Oil drilling part of the reason?

Hoima city is mainly known for its large oil reserves that will be drilled in a couple of years from now. However, this poses a threat to wildlife in case oil spills in the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. According to Makombo, translocation is a protection measure in case of calamities such as wildfires or oil leaks.

 

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