Uganda Wildlife Authority embarks on a study to establish the number of animals running away from National parks because of oil exploration activities, Charles Tumwesigye, the Deputy Director of Wildlife Conservation at UWA says.
This follows complaints that a section of animals from Murchison Falls National Park are moving away from their natural habitats because of noise and disturbances from heavy trucks and machinery.
Henry Buzu, a tour guide with Uganda Wildlife Authority says elephants, mostly spotted near river banks and open savannah lands are the most affected species. Also affected are wild cats.
Buzu says the impact of the exploration is hitting the sector already within Murchison Falls National Park. He says as a result, the number of tourists is dwindling since many get angry when they fail to spot the animals.
Our reporter had a boat ride across the park and for over three hours, only on elephant had been spotted with a few scattered bush bucks and a few other species.
Buzu dismisses government claims that wildlife and exploration can coexist.
Charles Tumwesigye, the Deputy Director of Wildlife Conservation says the exploration has not only affected the wildlife, but also the ecosystem in the area. Tumwesigye adds that based on the fears and allegations, Uganda Wildlife Authority has undertaken the study to establish whether the animal movement is a result of oil exploration.
He says preliminary results have indicated that there is a relationship between oil exploration and animal movement. He however hastens to add that the preliminary results are inconclusive. He says many animals like elephants are known for migrating from one place to another and that long before oil exploration started, they had been moving.
He also says the oil companies operating within the park have been issued with guidelines which they must follow in order to ensure that their activities do not disturb wildlife.