UWA translocates 200 kobs to Kidepo

Animal Conservation

 Uganda Wildlife Authority has commenced the exercise of translocating 200 kobs from Murchison Falls in Nwoya district to to Kidepo Valley Conservation Area in Karamoja sub region.

The exercise will see 30 males and 170 females translocated from Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve in Murchison Falls Conservation Area and released into Kidepo Valley National Park.

This is the second translocation of kobs to Kidepo Valley National Park in six years following the translocation of 110 animals to the park.

The kob population in the park has since increased and is estimated between 350 and 400 animals following the 2017 translocation and successful natural breeding in the last five years.

According to officials, his year’s translocation exercise will see the kob population in the park increase to six hundred individuals.

The Executive Director UWA Sam Mwandha says that the translocation will see the number of kobs increase and multiply faster in the park which will ensure their long-term survival.

“The current population of kobs in Kidepo Valley National Park is not what we want, therefore we have to reinforce it by taking there more kobs. Having kobs in different parks will play a significant role in ensuring their long-term survival,” Mwandha said.

According to John Makombo, the UWA director for conservation, the translocation addresses one of their key strategic objectives of species, population restoration in places where they initially ranged to ensure their survival especially in light of the current land use changes and other developments in their current ranges.

“This exercise is key in the fulfilment of UWA’s mandate of protecting and conserving Uganda’s wildlife resources, we are expanding the species range mindful of the land use changes in the country,"Makombo said.

The translocation is also aimed at re-enforcing the kob population in Kidepo Valley National Park to enhance breeding, genetic diversity and ecosystem balance.

It will also meet UWA’s strategic objective of restoring species in their former rangelands, enhance biodiversity and ecosystem balance and utilization and improve tourism in the park.

The Uganda kob

The Uganda kob is similar in appearance to the impala but it is more sturdily built. Only males have horns, which are lyre-shaped, strongly ridged and divergent.

Males are slightly larger than females, being 90 to 100 cm at the shoulder, with an average weight of 94 kg, while females are 82 to 92 cm at the shoulder and on average weigh about 63 kg.

The white throat patch, muzzle, eye ring and inner ear and the golden to reddish-brown coat/skin colour differentiates it from other kob subspecies.

Kobs are typically found in open or wooded savannah within reasonable distance from water and in grasslands near rivers and lakes.

About 98% of the present population are found in national parks and other protected areas.

Uganda kobs are herbivores and feed largely on grasses and reeds. The females and young males form loose groups of varying size, which range according to food availability, often moving along watercourses and grazing in valley bottoms.

They can travel 150 to 200 km in search of water during the dry season. Females become sexually mature in their second year while males do not start breeding until they are older.

Calving takes place at the end of the rainy season; a single calf is born in November or December, after a gestation period of about nine months.

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