Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is in the Karamoja region in north-eastern Uganda and the second largest protected area in Uganda after Murchison Falls National Park covering an area of 2,275 square kilometres. Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve along with Matheniko and Bokora Wildlife Reserve is located between Mt. Elgon National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park and was established as a game reserve in the 1960s. Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is part of the Mount Elgon Conservation Area (MECA). It once hosted high densities of abundant wildlife, which was poached in the 1970s and 1980s during the Idi Amin era. Efforts are being made to restore it to the former glory. In the recent past, the reserve is mostly unexplored and with virgin pristine habitat known to harbor unique wildlife including cheetahs, the greater Kudu, Roan Antelope, eland and a vast array of unique bird species including ostriches.
CTPH works in Nakapiritpirit District where with support from the French Embassy Social Development Fund we established a field program to train park staff and community animal health workers to promote conservation and public health. We work with the District Veterinary Officer to train Conservation Community Animal Health Workers (CCAHWs) as community volunteers who through a One Health approach to support an early warning system of disease outbreaks by promoting conservation, community health and hygiene and improving the health and husbandry of community livestock, to boost the income from their livestock projects and prevent disease transmission between livestock, wildlife and people. The CCAHWS have been encouraged to form Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) that improve their income and livelihoods. Our programmes here include disease surveillance and training park staff in wildlife health monitoring, and training CCAHWS to promote conservation and deliver community livestock health service and advise on husbandry, while encouraging people to vaccinate their livestock.
RESCUE OF BABY CHEETAHS
In 2015, two baby cheetahs were rescued by park rangers from local communities who were trying to look after them after their other was most likely killed when she was eating their goats. Karimajong Overland Safaris based in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, contacted CTPH CEO for advice on feeding the cheetah, which refused to drink cow’s milk. After Dr Gladys consulted UWEC and UWA they decided that the cheetah should be brought to the Zoo, with expertise in captive care where special milk was flown in from South Africa. With the correct diet, the baby cheetahs named Pian and Upe after the protected areas where they came from, quickly gained weight and doubled in size within a few weeks. CTPH brought a volunteer from USA – Jenny Kohl who had worked in zoos in USA, and provided very good training for the cheetah keepers to keep the cheetah active and have the right enhancement and interaction with people. This year the cheetahs got an exhibit and can be seen at UWEC.