By Dramadri

Madi Okollo District

The Ajai Wildlife Reserve in Ogoko sub-county, Madi-Okollo district, along the River Nile, in Uganda has faced persistent human activities that interfere with the wildlife reserve.The warden in charge of Ajai Wildlife Reserve, Olanya Babu Bakhit explains that several human activities like poaching, illegal lumbering and even settlements have continued to keep the reserve to unrest life.‘’We have, over time, left the first offenders and even if we arrest them, we release them with caution as the local leaders witness and this has never helped reduce the illegal acts, but from now we shall take anyone arrested direct to court as many believe they can do what they want’’.The wildlife reserve that covers 166 square kilometres is one of the three wildlife protected areas in West Nile alongside Mt. Otze Forest Reserve in Moyo district and Mt. Kei Forest Reserve in Yumbe district, which Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) manages together with the National Forestry Authority (NFA).The District Chairperson Madi Okollo, Genesis Acemadria cautioned community members to desist from such illegal practices, as this prevents the district from generating revenue and foreign exchange through tourist attraction.‘’I have seen men every time moving to the wildlife reserve with bows and arrows looking for animals. They must stop. This belief that meat can only be got from the bush must stop, otherwise somebody will end in jail.’’ Acemadria said.The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Madi Okollo district, Dalili Moses says they have recruited tour guides who work hand-in-hand with the rangers.‘’The tour guides will help to check persons trying to perform unacceptable activities in the wildlife reserve and also perform the duty of ensuring that the visitors are well attended to.’’ Ajai Wildlife Reserve was mainly established to conserve the white rhinoceros, which are now extinct in the country due to heavy poaching. The reserve was under private protection by an influential chief named Ajai in the year 1937. The reserve had 60 of 80 Ugandan rhinoceros in 1965, but now harbours a variety of wildlife species, including the Uganda kob, bushbucks, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, waterbucks, duikers, pate monkey and many others.END