As Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak economic havoc and threaten livelihoods of several individuals and businesses, including tourism, Rhino sanctuary has been boosted with Shs20 million to help offset the impact of the virus induced lockdown.
According to the executive director Rhino Fund Uganda, Angie Genade, the sanctaury mostly depends on tourists to manage the sanctuary, including feeding but the survival of the animals is now being threatened by the prolonged virus induced lockdown.
The closure of the tourism market means there is no money to pay rangers who are supposed to ensure day to day safety of the rhinos.
It’s against this background that World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) decided to boost the sanctuary.
WWF’s country director, Mr David Duli said Covid 19 is having a great negative impact on wildlife.
“Great apes, of which seven species are already threatened by extinction, are potentially vulnerable to this new virus. Lockdowns and the loss of tourism revenue also create challenges for protecting wildlife”, he noted.
Conservationists are now calling on government and private businesses to invest in expanding existing protected areas and improving their management as well as establishing new protected areas.
Particularly for the Rhinos, Mr Duli advised on the need to improve security monitoring to protect rhinos from poachers and the need to improve local and international law enforcement to stop the flow of rhino horn and other illegal wildlife trade items from Africa to other regions of the world.
“Rhinos have been an integral part of the natural world for tens of millions of years, and humankind is causing dramatic declines in just a few decades. We can change the outcome,” he said.
Genade said that; “The donation from WWF will help to bridge the funding gap, caused by circumstances beyond our control, so that rhino conservation can be maintained for the benefit of the local communities and the people of Uganda.”