The population of zebras in Uganda now estimated at 11,814 has tripled the numbers that were encountered a decade ago, according to a report by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
In 2003, the population of zebras in Uganda was estimated at 2,800. Their population was 3,200 in 1995 and in 1982; the population was 5,500 and 10,000 in the 1960s.
“The numbers of zebras have outgrown the population of the 1960s,” said Dr. Andrew Seguya, the acting executive director of UWA adding that today’s population is bigger than the number of zebras in the 1960s.
He was speaking at a press conference at the Media Centre in Kampala in which he presented a statement entitled, “UWA to fence off protected areas to prevent wild animal losses.”
In a separate interview, Charles Tumwesigye, the Chief Conservation Area Manager attributed the increase to the lack of predation for zebras in Mburo because the lion population had become extinct in the park until recently.
Three lions came to the park about five years ago and UWA says the level of predation is still low. On the other hand, poachers do not target zebras and that the most targeted species were buffaloes and hippos.
Apart from zebras, UWA’s report cited elephants as one of the species whose population is doing well with a population of 4,393 from 2,400 in year 2003.
“Elephants too are doing well, ” said Tumwesigye citing the good conservation practices as one of the factors behind the recovery of elephants in Uganda’s large parks, Queen, Murchison and Kidepo.
The conservationists however pointed out that conversion of wildlife habitats into farmland is one of the factors that has led to decline.
Climate change, Seguya pointed out is another factor that could be affecting the population of Uganda kobs that has dropped significantly in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The lion population too has declined by 50% in Queen Elizabeth National Park to invasion by Basongora herdsmen and poisoning of cattle by fishermen in the fishing villages who now survive by keeping cattle in parts of the park. He said the Basongora vacated the park, but the herdsmen from the fishing villages were poisoning the predators such as lions.