Katonga wildlife reserve
Katonga wildlife reserve is a jewel brimming with diversity and outstanding natural beauty. Katonga was gazetted as a wildlife reserve in 1964, covering an area of 207 square kilometres. The goal was to provide a passageway for wildlife species travelling from western Uganda to Tanzania and Sudan.
Katonga wildlife reserve
Katonga wildlife reserve is a jewel brimming with diversity and outstanding natural beauty. Katonga was gazetted as a wildlife reserve in 1964, covering an area of 207 square kilometres. The goal was to provide a passageway for wildlife species travelling from western Uganda to Tanzania and Sudan. When Uganda National Parks and the previous Game Department amalgamated to establish the Uganda Wildlife Authority in 1966, the game reserve was renamed a Wildlife Reserve (UWA). Katonga is located in the districts of Kyenjojo and Kamwenge, about a three-hour trip from Kampala to Kyegegwa.
Wildlife at katonga wildlife reserve
Katonga’s environment is primarily undulating, with diverse flora kinds. Grasslands, forested grasslands, forests, riverine woodlands, wetland, riverine grasslands, and papyrus are examples of vegetation. The majority of the region is savannah with acacia or forest. However, much of the reserve is made up of either permanent or seasonal wetlands. There are also areas of riverine and tropical forest in the reserve. Its unusual geographical location amid woods, wetlands, and savannah vegetation provides the reserve with a diversified environment that supports a wide range of animal species.
Sporobolus festivus and Chloris gayana are the most prevalent plant species. These species coexist alongside Setaria species, Hyparrhenia species, and the rare Panicum maximum. The Katonga and Nile wetland systems are connected, constituting a vital wetland system for human life. The variety of plant types, notably wetlands, provides a variety of habitats, which contributes to the reserve’s faunal diversity.
Katonga Wildlife Reserve is home to a healthy Sitatunga population that lives in the Katonga Wetland System. The reserve is also home to a large population of waterbucks. Along with monkeys, the number of hippos and birds is increasing.
The reserve once had a variety of creatures, including zebra, topi, and eland, all of which are no longer present. The reserve still has elephants, buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, reedbuck, and sitatunga. Most wildlife was killed between 1971 and 1985 as a result of commercial and subsistence poaching. Cultivators and livestock grazing have also extensively encroached on the area. However, in 2014, all encroachers in the park were expelled.
In order to restock and improve animal populations for tourism, 60 Impalas and 5 Zebras were successfully translocated to the reserve in 2015. The impala population has already reached 300 individuals. The current bird checklist includes around 150 species from marshes, savannah, and woodlands. Other animals include the Black and White Colobus Monkey, the River Otter, and the Olive Baboon, as well as the Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Leopard, Buffalo, reedbuck, bushbuck, duiker, and chevrotain. The reserve also has reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies. The reserve’s animal population census results for 2004 are shown in the table below.