Uganda reopens rhino sanctuary to tourists


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Uganda's Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary has been reopened to tourists after a management dispute led to its closure weeks ago.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), a state-run conservation agency, said in a statement issued on Thursday that tourists can now visit the the sanctuary located in the central district of Nakasongola, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The current 33 southern white rhinos received from Rhino Fund Uganda are in good health. We assure the public that the sanctuary will continue to be a center of excellence in rhino breeding," UWA added.

Rhino Fund Uganda previously used to manage the sanctuary before it was closed in April.

According to UWA, there are ongoing studies about the translocation of the rhinos to national parks where there is more space.

Ziwa is about to reach the maximum carrying capacity.

Uganda used to have a big number of rhinos especially the northern white rhino species.

All of these got extinct during the civil wars the country had in the 1970s and early 1980s.

By 1983, rhinos were declared extinct in Uganda.

But the establishment of the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in 2005 and the re-introduction of the rhinos by Rhino Fund Uganda was good news to the country and conservationists globally.

The sanctuary, which measures 70 square kilometers of savannah and woodlands, is also home to other wildlife like antelopes and the rare shoebill bird.

Source: IANS

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