There is exciting news from Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch. On December 26, 2016, their fourth Rhino of 2016 was born. The young male Southern White Rhino was named Noel and is becoming a valuable member of the ranch’s Rhino herd.
The timing of his birth, during the Christmas season, inspired Noel’s name. The strong, healthy boy is seen as a true gift to the Uganda Rhino reintroduction program. According to the sanctuary, it is very befitting that he was born on December 26, considering his mother's name, Malaika, means “angel”.
Uganda was once the only place in East Africa where both White and Black Rhinos lived. Both species were hunted intensively during the British colonial period, and they were finished off during the violent rule of Idi Amin in the 1970s. When Amin came to power in 1971, there were around 100 White and 300 Black Rhinos in northern Uganda. When he was overthrown eight years later in Uganda, only a handful of the Rhinos remained. By the early 1980s, there were none.
Today, with the help of organizations like Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch and Rhino Fund Uganda, the country’s fragile Rhino population is making a comeback. In 2005, Rhino Fund Uganda and the Uganda Wildlife Authority reintroduced Rhinos as part of the Ziwa project. The focus was to create a safe environment for them to live and breed in peace.
Nineteen Rhinos now live at the ranch and are guarded by approximately 80 park rangers, along with 24- hour security guards. Travelers can visit Noel and his family at Ziwa to learn more about Rhinos and the conservation efforts in place in Uganda to ensure they are around for future generations.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a collaborative effort between the Rhino Fund Uganda, a Ugandan NGO committed to the restoration of Uganda's Rhinoceros population and the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The sanctuary offers a secure place where Rhino populations can be expanded by breeding, protected from human and non-human predators and gradually be re-introduced into Uganda's national parks, while at the same time, allowing the public to enjoy these majestic animals, as the project moves forward.
A team of approximately 80 park rangers and security guards keep a 24-hour watch on the Rhinos to ensure their safety. The 70 square kilometres (7,000 ha) sanctuary is surrounded by a 2 metres (6.6 ft) electric fence to keep the Rhinos in and the intruders out.
The sanctuary is also home to at least 40 mammal and reptilian species, including: monkey, antelope, hippopotamus, crocodile and numerous bird species. In addition to Rhino trekking on foot, tourist activities include birding, canoe rides and nature walks.
The sanctuary is located approximately 180 kilometres (110 mi), by road, north of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. This location is near Nakitoma Village, Nakasongola District, in the Kafu River Basin, off the Kampala-Gulu Highway.
For more information on ways to help the sanctuary or plan a visit to the ranch, please see their website: www.rhinofund.org