Within Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park lies Lake Edward, the smallest of the African Great Lakes. On my second day in the park, I took a boat on the lake to search for elephants and water buffalo along the shore. These elephants are the largest living terrestrial animal.
Lake Edward is located in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, with its northern shore a few kilometers south of the Equator. The lake was named by the explorer Henry Morton Stanley in honor of Prince Albert Edward, The Prince of Wales, later known as King Edward VII.
The lake measures 48 miles by 25 miles [77 km by 40 km] and has a surface area of 898 sq. mi [2,325 square km]. It has a maximum depth of 367 feet [112 meters].
While the African elephants at Lake Edward within the park are protected by the Convention in Trade in Endangered Species, poachers are still quite active. According to a report from December 2011, “Conservationists have raised the red flag over the increase in poaching of elephants in national parks. According to Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA], 33 elephants have been killed at Murchison Falls National Game Park in the last seven years, of which 25 have been killed in 2011. The numbers of elephants killed in parks since the year began have more than tripled.”