Places that people and animals call home transcend borders, and contiguous habitats are formed of disparate human-made regions. Thanks to inextricable collaboration, the Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) in Uganda is now home to a newly constructed ranger outpost. The outpost is a key infrastructure element, serving to combat wildlife crime and allowing rangers to better protect the Greater Virunga landscape.
Back in 2018, during discussions between QENP’s management, IFAW, the International Union for Conservation of Nature-National Committee of The Netherlands (IUCN NL) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), emerged the vision of creating a ranger outpost in Edward flats, an area prone to poaching because of its high wildlife populations. Two years later, with funding from the European Union (EU), the 12-unit staff accommodation block was proudly standing before us.
The 24th of July last year was a special day for me. It was when I saw a simple idea become a reality before my eyes. It is on that day that IFAW handed over the outpost to the UWA under drizzling, cloudy and very cold weather. However, in African culture, rain during an event is considered good luck.
I remember speaking with Christine Lain from IUCN NL and Charles Tumwesigye, the Deputy Director Field Operations at UWA, about the first idea of this outpost. Now, I was so proud to walk through the corridors of the building, which boasts solar and water facilities to accommodate the fortitudinous rangers.
The construction and handover marks a great milestone in IFAW’s effort to support transboundary protection of wildlife between QENP and Virunga National Parks, enabling closer collaboration, coordinated patrols and intelligence sharing.
The outpost puts rangers at the heart of the trafficking route as well as in an area known for elephant poaching. This intervention will no doubt strengthen the law enforcement capacity to effectively control wildlife crime and safeguard tourists.
Program Manager Uganda & Horn of Africa
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