Armed poachers kill ranger in Uganda national park

ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua): Armed poachers have killed a ranger in western Uganda’s Kibale National Park, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said on Monday.

Sgt. Emmanuel Matsipa was shot dead when he and five colleagues were ambushed on Dec. 5 by about five armed poachers in areas around Kanyantare, in Kyenjojo district, the UWA said.

“We have lost another hero,” UWA executive director Sam Mwandha said. “The increasing numbers of wildlife throughout the country is because of selfless people like Matsipa.”

The rangers returned with fire, killing one of the poachers, but the others managed to flee, the UWA said in a statement.

The death of Matsipa and others who have died at the hands of armed poachers shows the hostile environment in which they operate to protect and conserve the country’s wildlife heritage, the statement said.

“Conserving our wildlife resources remains a risky undertaking. We put our lives on the line day and night in executing our mandate and we call upon the public and especially the communities neighboring protected areas to support us in this cause,” the statement said.

“We should not allow a few selfish individuals to decimate our wildlife for personal benefit at the expense of all Ugandans,” it said. “Poaching steals from us all!”

Kibale National Park is home to chimpanzees, one of Uganda’s prized tourist attractions. Some conservationists refer to the park as the world’s “primate capital” because of the concentration of 13 primate species in one place. It is also home to 372 bird species, 350 tree species, 71 mammal species, according to the UWA.

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