Kampala — THE only male reedbuck, a type of antelope, which is at risk of extinction in Kabwoya wildlife reserve, has been killed.
According to Honey Malinga, the commissioner for oil petroleum in the energy ministry, workers of Busitema Mining Services, a company contracted by Tullow Oil, killed the reedbuck recently.
He said six workers had been arrested and remanded at Hoima Police Station over the incident.
“We are concerned about the issue of poaching and it is good that the suspects have been arrested,” Malinga said. “There is a lot of goodwill from the parties working on oil, but the poaching of animals cannot be ignored.”
In a separate interview, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) director, Moses Mapesa, said the male reedbuck was relocated from Lake Mburo National Park to help the four females breed.
“The survival of the reedbuck was in the male that was killed,” said Mapesa.
“Poaching of the only male has taken us many steps backwards.”
He said the authority would take drastic measures to check poaching.
“We will not allow oil workers to camp in the protected areas because they engage in poaching.”
“This case is part of the evidence that they have been poaching,” Mapesa said.
Although Tullow Oil is prepared to translocate another male reedbuck as a replacement, wildlife managers and the community say this is not enough because the workers have been killing other animals.
Kabwoya wildlife reserve, which is one of the most ecologically rich areas in Africa, covers 200 square kilometres in the Albertine rift valley.
The increasing trade in game meat and the expanding human population is destroying most of the protected areas and leading to the extinction of some animal species.
The wildlife authority, Hoima district council and a local investor started restocking the reserve by bringing back some of the animals that had been declared extinct.
In addition to the male reedbuck from Lake Mburo National Park, the Jackson’s heetbeast and waterbucks were relocated from Murchison Falls National Park in December 2007.