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Location Uganda, Bundibugyo
Central coordinates 30o 23.04' East  1o 0.54' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 100,000 ha
Altitude 800 - 900m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description This site comprises the Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Semliki Controlled Hunting Area (CHA) and an adjacent area of wetland extending to Lake Albert, whose shores have swamps with Miscanthus and papyrus Cyperus papyrus. It borders the Rift Valley escarpment that rises to 1,500 m on the eastern boundary. The Rwenzori foothills are to the south and the CHA adjoins the Wildlife Reserve in the north-west, along the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. These reserves are generally flat, lying at the bottom of the Rift Valley. Two rivers, Wasa and Mugidi, and their tributaries drain the Wildlife Reserve into Lake Albert and the River Semliki marks the western border of the CHA. The local microclimate (influenced by the surrounding topography) and past human activities within the reserves have created a mosaic of vegetation-types, including lake-shore flats and swamps, grassland, wooded grassland, bush grassland, woodland, swamp and riverine forest.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex resident  1998  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri resident  1998  present  A1  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Semliki Controlled Hunting Area 50,400 protected area contained by site 50,400  
Toro-Semuliki or Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve 54,200 protected area contained by site 54,200  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   43%
Wetlands (inland)   6%
Shrubland   4%
Savanna   2%
Grassland   15%
Forest   27%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
other -
Notes: Firewood and water collection.

Other biodiversity In the 1960s, the reserve was renowned for its high populations of Kobus kob (LR/cd) and Panthera leo (VU), but these were reduced to low levels through poaching during the period 1971–1986, as were Loxodonta africana (EN) and Alcelaphus buselaphus (LR/cd). An unknown number of chimpanzees Pan troglodytes (EN) occur in the reserve along the riverine forests.

References Allan et al. (1995), Lamprey and Michelmore (1995), Rossouw and Sacchi (1998), UNEP (1988a), Verner and Jenik (1984).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Semliki reserves. Downloaded from on 23/10/2014

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