Lake Mburo national park is located in Nshaara, Sanga, Kiruhuura District in South Western Uganda and is situated between Lyantonde and Mbarara Town on the Kampala-Mbarara Highway, which is the gateway to most of the national parks Like Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi, Mgahinga, Rwenzori, and also to Rwanda.
Being Located near Buganda, which was full of middlemen for the Ancient Long Distance Trade between Arabs and Africans, most of it’s wildlife became victims of constant raids by ivory hunters from Buganda acting on orders from their Kings and chiefs to be able to get ivory to sell to the Arabs in the lucrative trade and receive items from the Arabs.
As a result, all the elephants were eliminated from the area by 1840!
Being in Ankole cattle corridor, which is famous for cattle herding, carnivores such as leopards, lions, hyenas, etc were gradually killed by the cattle herders in revenge if they dared kill any of the cows. So, almost all the carnivores were eliminated until when the government gazetted the park.
Although a few leopards and hyenas managed to defy the odds and survive, the lions and other carnivores did not live to see their advanced age!
Worse more, the park is isolated, in that it is not connected to another park by an animal corridor to enable these animals to trek from other areas and inhabit the park, but this also helped save other animals because if they were crossing to the park, then probably all of them would have been eliminated form Uganda!
This has resulted in the eco-system imbalance, where by the number of herbivores is increasing (and is now in excess) since there are no carnivores to tame it and also the whole park is almost getting finished by woodlands, since there are no elephants to tame the vegetation which was a large stretch of a savanna grassland.
To counter this effect, Uganda Wildlife Authority has allowed people to enter the parks and uproot the trees and use them for firewood.
This might become counter-productive in that since the vegetation in a national park must stay undisturbed, people might end up depleting rare vegetation, which cannot be easily recovered, thus confusing the whole meaning of a national park which is supposed to be any area in its natural, virgin and undisturbed state.
This might have a negative impact on our tourism since these missing animals (lions and elephants) and the leopards and hyenas, which are very few, are among the animals that tourists enjoy seeing.
The way forward might be to bring these animals physically and we put them there so as to get the eco-system completed and we make our wildlife safaris enjoyable and worth doing.