SYNOPSIS: Uganda's National Parks and Game Preserves were on considered among the finest in East Africa.
SYNOPSIS: Uganda's National Parks and Game Preserves were on considered among the finest in East Africa. It may come as a surprise to learn that they still are; All the publicity of recent years surrounding President Idi Amin has tended to make people forget other aspect of Uganda; In Kenya tourists are often told to avoid Uganda Game Parks; That the chaos of the Amin regime has led to wholesale elephant slaughter, and that hardly an elephant can be found any more.
Well, that is simply not true. In this park alone there are nearly a thousand. Tourists can get quite close to them...sometimes a little too close. (PAUSE)
Elephants, of course, are killed for their tusks...the ivory, which sells on the black market for about 25-dollars a pound. That's what makes poaching so attractive... But here, it can be dangerous:
Five of them were, last year, by rangers here at Kidepo National Park. Rangers caught them int he act as it were. The poachers were killed "trying to get away," they say...but even if they had survived, they would have faced death by a firing squad. Its a step way of dealing with the problem...but effective:
Uganda would very much like to have more tourists back; The Amin years have undoubtedly seared many away The government says no tourist would have anything to worry about...and for those who want to see elephants. Right now, they probably outnumber tourists 100 to one.
Fred Briggs, NBC News, Kidepo, Uganda.