Oil drilling continues in Ugandan park despite threat to nature

by | Jul 15, 2022 | World

Kampala, Uganda – In September 2019, when Chemonges Amusa, the tourism warden for Murchison Falls Park, learned that oil drilling would soon commence within the borders of Uganda’s most visited national park, his eyes filled with tears.The warden, now 42, who had spent most of his 15-year career in the depths of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest habituating gorillas, felt the drilling would affect the park and its animals.
He plunged himself into reading books and research papers, to try and learn as much about conservation in coexistence with development, and how the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) might be able to stave off the worst harm.
“Like other rangers, I had the view that the animals would run away from the oil wells,” he said. “But the government had made a decision and we had to learn to manage it.”
In 2015, French oil giant TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the governments of Uganda and Tanzania, to drill for oil in Uganda and export it via a 1,443km-long pipeline through Tanzania’s coast.
While the project has received much criticism from environmental and conservation groups, Uganda’s long-serving president, Yoweri Museveni has endorsed it, warning that he will not “allow anybody to play around” with “my oil”.

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