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Impact of oil exploration and drilling activities on Elephant health and conservation in Uganda

Global energy demand has driven expansion of oil and gas extraction into African protected areas, raising concern about potential deleterious impacts on wildlife.The biological diversity of Murchison Falls National Park is at risk because of the activities associated with oil exploration and development. The ongoing developments of oil in Murchison Falls National Park are likely to facilitate behavior change for wild animals by adjusting their utilization areas.

Oil mining infrastructure fragments and degrades natural habitat t yet habitat loss and fragmentation have a severe impact on wildlife population viability; the vibrations and noise associated with oil exploration will make wildlife habitats inhabitable and this will eventually lead to movement of wildlife beyond park boundaries , increasing human-elephant conflict.

Elephants are vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation; hence they are susceptible to diseases because of stress . As large-bodied mammals with high resource and space requirements, they belong to a high-risk group for anthropogenic extirpation .

Elgon Wildlife Conservation Organization is implementing an elephant health monitoring project to evaluate links between habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, anthropogenic disturbances, and animal health by comparing the stress hormone levels, prevalence, load and diversity of endoparasites in African elephants in highly fragmented habitat versus continuous forest habitat in Uganda to generate information for long term monitoring of oil drilling activities on elephant and other wildlife health in Uganda

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