An unsavoury scenario is unfolding at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, now that the three adult bulls have been joined by three adolescent males, driven away by their mothers in a short and unceremonial process, as one of the three adult females has already given birth to a new rhino girl while the two others are also in the advanced stages of the family way again.
This has prompted already fights between the dominant bull and his two main adult rivals and the arrival of the three adolescents, chased away from the previous safe environment with their mothers, has added to the fight and conflict potential.
The Rhino Fund has already some months ago requested, fully aware of the potential for injuries but also mindful of other factors, to remove the horns from the males, but at least from the dominant bull, but UWA in a display of ignorance on rhino facts declined to sanction the intervention.
Repeated submissions have not helped to change their mind and insiders are now speculating what motive the Acting Executive Director Dr. Andrew Seguya might really have, declining this request time and again.
During his time at UWEC he steadfastly refused to exchange the female kept in Entebbe, where she has been unable to successfully mate, to come to Ziwa until she had gotten pregnant, an inexplicable move considering that even the two rhinos at Entebbe, named Sherino and Kabira, were procured by the Rhino Fund Uganda and given to UWEC at the time as the sanctuary at Ziwa was still being planned. This move, according to rhino friends in Uganda, will rob Uganda of more offspring by this prized female, which will as far as reproduction is concerned might go to waste, leading to deep suspicions of a turf war being inflicted on the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary / Rhino Fund Uganda at the expense of making the most out of breeding programme for which the Southern White Rhinos were brought to Uganda by the Rhino Fund and their supporters.
It was learned that such flimsy reasons as visitors want to see rhinos with horns and we dont want to keep the horns in our strong rooms were advanced, exposing the folly to the fullest.
Rhino experts in other countries, consulted on the issue, concurred with the assessment by the team at Ziwa, that dehorning at least the dominant bull, but best all of the adult bulls, will defuse the injury potential for those crucial years, before the females might go back into heat again, and experts from Rhino International consulted by this correspondent also agreed with this being the best move.
Here again comes the issue of having neither a board in place nor having an actual substantive Executive Director in place, and as the acting ED has been cited unfavourably by the Kanyeihamba Commission of Enquiry report, circumstantial evidence just keeps piling up of UWA not functioning as it should and as it did before the former minister of tourism took his actions which literally dismembered Ugandas wildlife management body in the ensuing political maelstrom.
Meanwhile have the rangers at Ziwa a challenging time to keep the adult bulls apart, using their time and resources in a direction considered unnecessary to say the least.