The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is planning to reintroduce the Northern White Rhino back to Ajai Wildlife Reserve in 2025.
The reintroduction of the white Rhinos to Ajai Wildlife Reserve in the Madi Okollo district has been a long-standing demand for the people of West Nile due to its high potential to spur the development of the Tourism sector in the sub-region.
John Makombo, the Director of conservation at the Uganda Wildlife Authority explains that between now and the planned year for the reintroduction of the rhinos, they will conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment and establish an enclosure fence for the white Rhinos within Ajai Wildlife Reserve.
According to Makombo in the meantime, they are set to embark on habitat manipulation, which involves clearing the bushes within the Wildlife Reserve since Rhinos prefer short pastures for grazing. This will be followed by the introduction of other animal species like the Zebra, Kob and giraffes before the Rhinos can finally be translocated from Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola District to Ajai Wildlife Reserve.
Ajai Wildlife Reserve which sits on an area of 166 sq. km is known for the earlier existence of the Northern White Rhinos in Uganda which went extinct due to lawlessness in the 1970s and 1980s.
Knight Zahara, the Tourism officer for Madi Okollo district is confident that the restoration of Ajai Wildlife Reserve will spur the development of tourism and development in the region.
Currently, there are about 35 White Rhinos at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary ever since the government of Uganda through the Uganda Wildlife Authority started a breeding programme in the 2005/2006 financial year.