OIL DRILLING IN MURCHISON: ENDANGERED GIRAFFE TO BE TRACKED
By Caroline Ariba
Despite cries from conservationists, government recently gave a go ahead to oil companies, Total E&P and Tullow to drill in Murchison Falls National Park.
The Tilenga oil project as it’s called, is estimated to last 25-30 years and yield about 200,000 barrels of oil per day. Economically viable as this might sound, environmentalists worry enough hasn’t been done to protect the environment and that it could put a strain on it.
Speaking to the Daily Monitor, Onesmus Mugyenyi, the deputy executive director of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), said the report giving a green light to the exploration had been doctored. “We realised that the climate data used in the ESIA [Environmental and Social Impact Assessment] study is from Bugoma, Kisinja and Mbegu belonging to different climatological zones, a more appropriate data should have been from Butiaba and Pakwach weather stations, from Buliisa or Nwoya districts,” Mr Mugyenyi lamented.
But since the body required to protect the environment had said all was okay, the process will soon begin. In a bid to keep an eye on the endangered species therefore, conservationists have taken to dire measures. For example, Giraffe Conservation Foundation only two days ago announced that they had not only surveyed the park, but also put trackers on the endangered Nubian giraffe. This move, a partnership between Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA),Dartmouth College, San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, Chester Zoo & Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens might be what saves the endangered species.
“As part of the operation, we worked alongside UWA to also fit 15 GPS satellite units to critically endangered Nubian giraffe as part of our ongoing TwigaTracker Initiative,” they announced. “These units are more important then ever as the planned oil production within the park will get underway soon.” “We will now be able to monitor the movements of these giraffe and learn how they use their key habitats to inform future conservation plans.”