UWA relocates wildlife ahead of Isimba dam commissioning

Thursday February 14 2019

UWA officials hold a cobra and a black

UWA officials hold a cobra and a black mamba they rescued from Isimba hydropower project area in December last year. PHOTO BY TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY 

By TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY

Kayunga- The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has relocated wildlife from Isimba Village ahead of the commissioning of the hydropower dam project mid this month.

Isimba dam, located in Isimba Village on Victoria Nile in Kayunga District, is home to a variety of flora and fauna.

According to UWA, the relocation, which started in November and ended last month, was meant to save wildlife species in the area since their habitat was destroyed during dam construction.

The relocation was based on the request of the Isimba dam contractor.
In an October 26, 2018 letter, the Isimba dam contractor requested UWA to carry out a biodiversity inspection at the project site and undertake biodiversity rescue during the different phases of the project.

The project had reached the reservoir impounding phase on November 5 when UWA started re-locating the wildlife.

Mr Sam Mwandha, the UWA executive director, said a total of 109 wild animals of nine different species were rescued and released to a new habitat in Mabira Forest.

The relocated wild animals include red tailed monkeys, forest cobras, mambas, green water snakes, barrowing asp snakes, boiga blanding snakes, olive grass snakes, banded water cobras, pythons, Egyptian cobras and mongoose.

Others are terrapins, porcupines, Guinea fowls, fire skinks lizards and flap necked chameleons.

Scoop nets, monkey traps, capture nets, snake traps, sacks and bucket containers were deployed to help in catching the animals during the exercise. Mr Mwandha said the rough nature of the terrain meant that the rescue exercise took long.

According to Mr Simon Kasyate, the UEGCL manager for corporate affairs, all visible wildlife have been successfully evacuated from the project site.

“Now as I speak, all these wild animals particularly at the small islands that were to be submerged during reservoir filling and those species that would be in immediate danger have been relocated while taking precedence of the IUCN 7 categories’ red list,” Mr Kasyate said in an interview.

He added that construction of the dam is complete and awaiting commissioning before commercial electricity production kicks off in March.

About the dam
Construction of the $567.7 million Isimba hydropower dam commenced in April 2015. The task was undertaken by China International Water & Electric Corporation under UEGCL’s supervision.

The 183.2MW power plant extends over 2,867.6 acres of land and it comprises a concrete gravity dam, a clay-core rock fill dam, a spillway, a power house, electro-mechanical equipment, switching stations, and auxiliary power transmission works.

Recently, officials constructing the hydropower dam cut down a large forest near the project site at Nazigo, displacing a big number of wildlife.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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