Aerial surveys of Murchison Falls Protected Area, Uganda, March 2010

Aggrey Rwetsiba, Edison Nuwamanya

Abstract


Murchison Falls Protected Area (MFPA)is the largest wildlife protected area in Uganda and forms one of the three sites that have been implementing the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme since 2002. A population survey of the MIKE site was conducted in March 2010 with the objective of establishing numbers of elephants and other medium and large mammals. The SRF method was used to determine wildlife distribution and numbers in MFPA. This method relies on counting within a systematically obtained sample (Norton-Griffiths 1978). The results of the survey indicate a general recovery and increase of major species, especially elephants, following a huge decline in numbers as a result of accelerated poaching that followed the breakdown of law and order in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Despite the fact that various methods were used in previous surveys, some in dry seasons and others in wet seasons, the results still show general species recovery and significant population increase of certain species. Most of the species—namely elephant, Uganda kob, giraffe, warthog, buffalo, hartebeest and waterbuck—are steadily increasing.

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