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European Union Ambassador to Uganda Attilio Pacifici affirmed EU commitment to conservation efforts and protection of vulnerable species in Uganda, in an address delivered during national celebrations to mark World Wildlife Day in Arua district on March 3.
He joined Ugandan Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu and wildlife enthusiasts who included primary school pupils and secondary school students to march through Arua town as part of activities to celebrate the UN thematic day.
In his address, Ambassador Pacifici said the EU has a strong record of supporting conservation worldwide, affirmed by the creation of the largest network of protected areas in the world—Natura 2000. "Protecting the oceans and the wildlife species is about protecting us and our lives," he said. "It is about safeguarding the future of our daughters and sons and securing for them a world in which they can live."
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda read out a speech on behalf of President Museveni as chief guest. He said although challenges such as poaching, illegal wildlife trade and trafficking, human wildlife conflicts, climate change impact, invasive species, limited ecological research and low awareness still exist, Uganda remains fully committed to addressing these challenges. "We need to strengthen the idea of having communities at the forefront of conservation," he said.
On return from Arua, Ambassador Pacifici joined Minister Prof. Kamuntu on a visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, home to Uganda's endangered rhinos. The sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where you can see rhino in the wild.
In 2004, the EU supported Uganda Wildlife Authority and the NGO, Rhino Fund Uganda, to extend the fight for wildlife conservation by demarcating protected area boundaries and reintroducing the endangered rhino. In 2018, the EU together with the National Authorizing adopted a baby rhino at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and named him Europe Mukasa in support of biodiversity conservation efforts and to repopulate Uganda national parks. Uganda is now poised to have more than 30 rhinos by the end of 2019, up from four first introduced 14 years ago, thanks in a large part to a a successful breeding program at the Ziwa Sanctuary.
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