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Madi Okollo leaders reject expansion of Ajai Wildlife Reserve land

Ajai Wildlife Reserve. URN photo

Madi Okollo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Leaders in Madi Okollo district have opposed a proposal by the Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA to acquire additional land at Ajai Wildlife Reserve for Rhino conservation.

In December, UWA announced plans to acquire 26.58 square kilometers of additional land at Ajai Wildlife Reserve to support substantial rhino breeding, ahead of the reintroduction of the White Rhinos back to the reserve.

However, the leaders are against the move saying that they are not ready to give up their land since a number of people whose land was taken in the past have never been compensated.

Rokoni Madimva, one of the landlords in Okollo sub county explains that the demand for additional land is uncalled for, since the current size of Ajai Wildlife Reserve can support the reintroduction of the white Rhinos.

According to Patrick Atiku, the councilor representing Ogoko sub-county, the local communities are opposed to the plans to acquire additional land due to the fact that they have not seen the value of the game reserve.

Joanne Aniku, the Madi Okollo Woman MP says they are opposed to the proposal of acquiring additional land because a number of people whose land was taken by UWA in the past acquisition have not adequately been compensated.

Ismail Drabe, the LCV Chairperson Madi Okollo has blamed the community’s resentment towards misinformation about the planned process.

In a recent meeting with the district leaders, John Makombo, the Director in Charge of Conservation at UWA noted that the current state of the reserve cannot support rhino breeding hence the need for additional land. According to Makombo, they will soon engage the community landowners about the acquisition of additional land.

“Because we are realizing that the area which we hold now is not suitable enough for the rhinos”, he noted.

The proposed additional land is located on the southern part of Ajai wildlife Reserve next to Pawor Seed Secondary School. The land is currently occupied by the Lali community.

Ajai Wildlife Reserve which was gazetted in 1965, currently covers 166 square kilometers.

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