National

Excitement as rhino is born in Nakasongola

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Uhuru, the newly-born baby rhino and its mother at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Uhuru, the newly-born baby rhino and its mother at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. PHOTO BY MARTIN SSEBUYIRA. 

By Martin Ssebuyira

Posted  Tuesday, June 4  2013 at  01:00

In Summary

Restock. The baby rhino is part of efforts aimed at restocking the animals in national parks and boosting tourism.

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Kampala

Conservationists, environment and wildlife enthusiasts received the news of the birth of a new female rhino at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary with excitement at the weekend, saying it will offer an opportunity for tourists to see the ‘Big Five’ animals.

These include elephants, lions, buffaloes, rhinos and leopards. The birth of the rhino is a boost to the restocking of the animals that were declared extinct in 1983 in the country.

The management of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where the animals stay, broke the news of the birth of the baby rhino named Uhuru, a Swahili word meaning independence.

Seven healthy babies have been born since June 2009, according to the management, bringing the current number in the sanctuary to 13. “This will not only offer an opportunity for tourists on safari to experience the Big Five in Uganda but also trek these magnificent mega herbivores,” Ms Angie Genade, the executive director of the Rhino Fund Uganda, an NGO that oversees the multiplication of the animals, said.

Ms Genade said the new baby was born to Nandi, a female rhino donated by Disney Animal Kingdom and Taleo a male rhino imported from Solio Ranch in Kenya. The baby rhino is in good health. Ms Genade said the Rhino Introduction Programme plans to release the newly-born animals back into the country’s national parks.

Poaching
“Looking at the current African Rhino Poaching statistics with average of three rhinos being poached daily, it is clear that there should always be a sustainable breeding stock in a safe environment,” she added.

Ms Genade said if the breeding stock reaches a suitable size, excess rhinos will be released into national parks but sustainable breeding stocks will remain on the sanctuary for security and genetic reasons. She said national parks must be safe from poaching and prepared to receive these rhinos. She said the organisation is expecting the two adult females to give birth in December 2013 and March 2014 respectively.

mssebuyira@ug.nationmedia.com