By Priscillar Nyamahunge
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials have warned residents of Kiryandongo and the neighboring districts against poaching wild animals which mostly act as tourist attractions.
The warning was sounded by Richard Muhabwe, the warden in-charge of Karuma-Chobe conservation sector of Murchison falls National Park.
Mugabe was addressing residents of Kasaranda village, in Mutunda Sub County, which is a hotspot for about 20 buffalos on Tuesday evening. Kasaranda is located about 40kms from Murchison falls National Park. It was a wild life reserve before government gazetted it into a ranch settlement in the 1970’s. It is occupied by both cattle keepers and farmers.
“These animals are very important to our economy and they fetch us revenue through tourism. Therefore, none of you should even think about killing anyone of them because that is against the law,”Muhabwe said.
Earlier on, residents had complained that the animals were destroying their food crops most especially maize and rice which are the majority’s main source of income.
Muhabwe expressed concern over destructions and promised to always render help to avoid such occurrences.
He however warned that, “In case anyone encounters with a buffalo in his garden, you should not attempt to chase it. Make noise and so on. Those animals are dangerous and can attack you and cause fatalities if you try to fight them .Always call up our offices and we send in help as soon as possible,”Muhabwe said.
Innocent Waako, the Conservation ranger Karuma sector called on locals to be so vigilant about their safety. He said that buffalos are now looking for food in people’s settlement because most of the wild food in forests was destroyed due to deforestation.
Deogratious Kisembo, the LC3 Mutunda called upon UWA to deploy at least one warden who will keep patrolling the area and always avails necessary help when required. He also asked UWA to set up a committee with a few locals and give them the responsibility of taking watch of the game.
In response, Muhabwe said they will consider setting up a temporary post during the flowering and fruit making of plants, a period he said buffalos tend to be more destructive.
Meanwhile, Linos Ngompek, the RDC Kiryandongo who heads the district security committee said that they had received reports about poachers crossing from Apac, a vice he said will have to be fought against.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY;
Moses Muruli; “The issue of wild animals attacking people has become rampant. The concerned authorities should consider moving the animals to a better protected area.”
James Malaja; “We have heard cases of people being killed by crocodiles in areas like Nakasongola. We do not want to experience such killings by wild animals. UWA should set up better ways of handling them since they are tourist attractions.”
Charles Anguyo; “Uganda Wildlife Authority should ensure that they protect our crops and yields from being destroyed because the animals move at free will. It is hard for a lay person to control them.”