According to the statement, the closure was prompted by the misunderstanding between Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR) and Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU).
Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary . Photo by RFU
Wildlife Authority-UWA has closed Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola district
with immediate effect following a recent attack. The decision comes amidst bickering between
Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR), which owns the land hosting the Sanctuary
and Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU), a non-governmental organization that manages the rhinos.
A press statement issued by UWA this morning, says Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary has
been closed to the public and no tourism activity will be undertaken until
further notice. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is home to 33 endangered white rhinos. According to the statement, the closure was
prompted by the misunderstanding between Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR)
and Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU).
The statement notes that UWA realized that the conflicts could potentially
compromise the safety of the rhinos and they took the decision to avert the
threat as a temporary measure till the parties involved settle the matter. UWA also
says that it has taken over the security of the sanctuary, which is within its
mandate to protect wildlife resources in Uganda as per Uganda Wildlife Act
development comes a few days after 28 men pretending to be tourists raided the
sanctuary on April 15th, 2021 and destroyed office property in what
is believed to have an attempt to evict the staff of Rhino Fund Uganda. The suspects have since revealed that they were
hired from Kampala to execute the mission. Isah Ssemwogerere, the Savannah
Regional Police Spokesperson, says that the suspects face charges of aggravated
robbery, theft and malicious damage to property.
Joseph C. Roy, the proprietor of Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR), which
seats on over 16,000 acres of land ordered UWA and RFU to relocate the rhinos
and vacate the land respectively for alleged failure to cooperate with him. But
Augustine Mudukoyi, the General Manager of Rhino Fund Uganda told URN that they
tried to settle the misunderstanding by agreeing to all the demands by Captain
Roy to give him 20% collections and appoint three of his members on its board.
Mudukoyi instead accuses Captain Roy of making fresh unrealistic demands, which
include 100% collection and relocation of the Executive Director, Angie Genade
from Ziwa sanctuary to their Kampala headquarters. On Friday, UWA announced plans
to introduce the Rhinos from the sanctuary to its protected areas following the
completion of a feasibility study to identify a suitable location and the
In 2002, Capt. Roy offered the land to act as a sanctuary for the rhinos for a
period of 30yrs. However, in October 2017 Captain Roy terminated his MOU with Rhino
Fund Uganda. In 2020, after a series of meetings with President Yoweri Museveni
and the Ministry of Tourism, the two parties signed a fresh five-year memorandum of
understanding for the continuation of the flagship project.
However, in March
this year, Captain Roy laid fresh demands. On April 15th, 2021, he
stormed out of a meeting called by the Ministry of Tourism and UWA, saying he is no
longer interested in talks but wants his land back. It is reported that over
10,000 tourists visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary each year.