100 Rangers to Monitor Oil Exploration In Protected Areas

1869 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Nsubuga explains that the rangers have been tasked to submit daily field reports highlighting the activities of the oil companies.

Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA is set to deploy more than 100 rangers trained to monitor activities of oil companies inside the National Parks and other protected areas. Tullow, China National Offshore Corporation and Total E and P are presently exploring oil in different areas in Uganda including protected sites such as Murchison Falls National Park. Lillian Nsubuga, the UWA spokesperson says the rangers would help ensure that the oil exploration and anticipated oil production activities inside the National Parks and other protected areas adheres to specified arrangements that protect wildlife.
 
Nsubuga explains that the rangers have been tasked to submit daily field reports highlighting the activities of the oil companies. Nsubuga said that the oil monitoring team previously deployed inside Murchison National Park and at the Authority’s headquarters was not providing regular reports on the oil exploration activities, which made it difficult to regulate activities of the oil exploration firms. She says that Uganda Wildlife Authority is facing challenges of monitoring the fast-paced activities of the oil companies operating inside the park. She however hoped that the training and deployment of additional personnel would help.
 
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There are concerns especially among sections of the public that uncontrolled oil exploration activities could deplete the country’s wildlife and subsequently the tourism industry, which is a major income earner for the economy. Robert Ddamulira, the World Wild Fund Climate and Energy Manager in says that 70 percent of all Uganda’s protected areas comprise the most promising prospects for oil and gas development. He explained that Albertine Graben where oil exploration is ongoing hosts over 1,000 birds species, 1,300 butterfly species, and over 400 species of mammals among others.
 
He says that there is need to strengthen regulatory institutions among other measures to avoid wildlife loss, degradation and climate change among other negative effects of oil exploration and production.
In 2011, Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Wildlife Conservation Society conducted a study inside Murchison National Park to establish the impact of oil drilling on wildlife. The study found that larger mammals such as elephants, buffalos and giraffes were affected most by oil drilling activities. The study explained that noise and light from the oil sites forced the animals to stay away at a distance of 750 to 1000 meters.