Beautiful Uganda is a popular tourist destination for animal lovers. Its 236,580 square kilometres of lush jungles, rolling green hills and savannas are home to many wildlife species, including a number that are endangered.
Probably the most famous of Uganda’s wild animals are its rare Mountain Gorillas. It is estimated that there may only be 800 of these great apes left in the wild. Of these, approximately 300 live in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Over the years, a number of threats, including poaching, hunting, human civil wars, and loss of habitat have wreaked havoc on the mountain gorilla’s population. Today, Uganda’s government has been working hard to protect the gorillas, especially since they are now responsible for bringing in a large amount of tourism dollars to the country.
The Rothschild giraffe, which is also known as the Ugandan giraffe is also another endangered species. It is believed that there are only 670 of these giraffes left in the wild today. The Rothschild is the tallest giraffe, and it has dark brown rectangular spots with ill-defined cream-colored lines. These beautiful giraffes can only be found in Uganda and Kenya.
In the 1970s, during the presidency of Idi Amin, Uganda’s rhinoceros population, which was thought to have consisted of approximately 100 white and 300 black rhinos, were left unprotected and were wiped out by poachers. Today, the government is making an effort to reintroduce these rare animals back to Uganda. In 2012, two white rhinos were born in Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which is now home to 12 of these magnificent animals.
The population of Uganda red colobus monkeys have dropped by 89 percent from 1975 to 2007 and it is now listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Surprisingly, researchers have discovered that one of the main threats to these monkeys — at least in Uganda’s Kibale National Park may be chimpanzees, which are preying on the colobus. Loss of habitat and disease are also factors in this monkey’s reduced population.
Sadly, the chimpanzee, itself, is also endangered. There are only about 5,000 of these human-like primates left in Uganda — down from a population that at one time was believed to have numbered 50,000. Although, chimpanzees are protected, their numbers are still being threatened by hunting and loss of habitat.
The African Wild dog is another endangered species that has a very small population in Uganda. It is believed that the wild dog, which has been hunted to near extinction in much of Africa, can still be found in Uganda’s remote Kidepo Valley National Park.
Cheetahs are another rare animal that can be found in the Kidepo Valley National Park. There have also been some reported sightings of these beautiful spotted animals in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park. Cheetahs are considered a vulnerable species on the IUCN’s Red List.
For animal lovers, getting a chance to see these rare and magnificent creatures can be an once-in-a-lifetime thrill. Unfortunately, it can also be quite an expensive endeavor. One way to save money, however, is to choose self-catering accommodations, such as Ugandan holiday apartments. These are typically cheaper than a hotel, and tourists can also save money by cooking their own meals.
Uganda Safaris Desk
African Adventure Travellers Ltd