Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has trans-located over 150 kobs from Murchison Falls National Park to Kidepo Valley National Park in the far north-eastern Uganda. The development is a good move towards strengthening and balancing safaris in Uganda in the parks. The success of Uganda’s tourism is built well on safaris and tours done in the national park. Kidepo Valley is one of the parks where games drive safaris are done during day and night.
UWA Executive Director Dr. Edward Seguya said the exercise that has been done in phases was successful as all the animals arrived in good shape except one that suffered a right hind leg tension and was temporarily kept in captivity.
“Murchison Falls National Park has over 40,000 kobs which are too many for the park to host given its capacity. The animal migration exercises we have done are very good for de-congesting the park and offer the other park some species of animals that were on the verge of extinction,”
Six vehicles were used to transfer the captured kobs to their new habitat.
When asked to explain if the translocation of the animals to a semi-arid Karamoja was not a ploy to offer prey for the lions in Kidepo, UWA spokesman Gessa Simplicious denied the matter.
“Before the translocation exercise of kobs to Kidepo Valley, lions lived there in even huge numbers already feeding on an assortment of various animals. This animal transfer move is a normal conservation approach used to reintroduce animal species that are in danger of extinction in an area. UWA has done it before by giving transfers of elands, giraffes and zebras to other park in Uganda.”
On their arrival in their new home in Kidepo, the kobs cracked out of their confines with vigour, observed right and left before jumping away from the truck. They kobs split in clusters of five and six as the males started marking territories in the green zones. They desire staying in open areas where they can closely keep eyes on probable predators.
Margaret Driciru, a senior warden and wildlife veterinarian at the Uganda Wildlife Authority said the blood samples of the animals for translocation were first taken and then sedated to diminish the surprise of travelling in a truck for the first time.
“We took the blood samples to monitor their health standing. This is a procedure we always follow and in case they get acceptance challenges, we know how to address the situation,” she said
Other animal species in Kidepo National Park include 12 antelope species like the Jackson’s hartebeest, oribi, eland and klipspringer. Other animals found nowhere else in the country, are cheetah, aardwolf, caracal, greater and lesser kudu, Guenther’s dik-dik and mountain reedbuck.