Saturday, November 11th, 2023 | By

Residents of Ngwedo and Buliisa sub counties in Buliisa district have petitioned Uganda Wildlife Authority over wildlife attacks.

In their 24th October this year’s petition addressed to UWA, the residents neighboring Murchson Falls National Park say the rampant invasion of elephants and buffaloes into the community has led to massive destruction of their crops putting food security at stake and loss of the lives.

The affected villages include Waiga, Kabbolwa, Kijangi, Bbyeriya, Nyamiteete, Katabeela and Bugana-Kichoke in Buliisa Sub County as well as Mubbaku, Ajigo, Mvule1, Kamandindi and Mvule Nunda in Ngwedo district.

Kabagambe Kamanda, the LCIII chairperson of Buliisa Sub County says the elephants and buffalos from the national park have of recent increasingly raided people’s gardens destroying their crops. He adds that they have also attacked, killed and injured people.

“Last year, a 15-year old Abdu from Waiga 2 primary school was attacked and killed by stray elephants on his way from school. In February this year, a 67 year old man Moogo Ongyiera was attacked and killed by an elephant while in his garden. In July, Janet Bero Pamungu, 42 was attacked and killed while collecting firewood near her garden in Waiga. While in September, a woman who was carrying her child at her back was attacked by an elephant and severely,” said Kabagambe.

Grace Mulimba, a farmer from Kasenyi village in Ngwedo Sub County says she has lost her hectares of watermelon, cassava, sweet potatoes and maize to elephants which are led to food insecurity and loss of livelihoods. She says women spend sleepless nights and now fear to go to their gardens due to fear of attacks.

The residents want installation of electric fence around Murchson Falls National Park to prevent further invasion of animals to the community and prompt compensation to those who have lost their lives and livelihoods.

The petition dated 24th October and signed by over 60 residents, local leaders and NGOs working in Buliisa has been addressed to Uganda Wild Authority and copied in to the ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities.

Rajab Bwengye, the project coordinator of European Funded project “Deepening grassroots women’s rights, participation and economic livelihood opportunities in the era of expanding of oil and gas extraction and COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda” in implemented in Buliisa under National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) says boosting food security and improvement of livelihoods have been frustrated by the wild animals; a reason they are joining the petition.

He says the destruction of crops by wild animals, in addition to other challenges like displacements caused by oil and gas extraction and COVID-19 pandemic, have affected people’s incomes and food security leading to gender based violence.

He said there is need for concerted efforts to ensure that people live in harmony with wildlife.