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Buliisa residents petition UWA over rampant invasion of elephants

Buliisa, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Buliisa settling near Murchison falls National Park have petitioned the Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA over rampant invasion of elephants and buffaloes into the community, causing massive destruction to their crops.

In their petition dated August 17, 2022 addressed to UWA, the residents contend that they are being raided by wild animals like elephants and buffaloes which destroy their crops and cause injuries to the community members.

The residents in the petition want UWA to compensate them for crops destroyed  and injuries inflicted on some of the community members by the wild animals. The residents are from more than 20 villages neigbouring Murchison Falls National Park.

The most affected sub-counties include Butiaba, Buliisa Ngwedu, Biiso and Buliisa town council, which all share a common border with the park.

The residents say in these areas say several hectares  of cassava, maize, beans, sweet potatoes, jack fruit, pawpaws and bananas have been destroyed by wild animals over the years, and residents say that apart from the destruction of crops and property, the animals are a threat to human life.

In their petition signed by more than 1,000 residents seen by URN, the residents too demand that UWA erects an electric fence around Murchison Falls National Park to prevent further invasion of the animals into the community.

Richard Oyirwoth, a resident of Ngwedu sub county says if the situation is not managed immediately, there is likely to be an outbreak of famine in the area following the continued destruction of their crops by the animals.

Jelosy Mugisa, a resident of Buliisa town council explains that they have been compelled to petition UWA following the massive destruction of crops by the elephants and he demands that government compensates them immediately. He accused UWA of delayed response in dealing with the stray elephants despite several complaints being earlier on raised by residents.

Geofrey Byakagaba, a resident of Butiaba sub county says the current situation is uncontrollable yet UWA has kept a deaf ear despite several complaints being raised by the community saying a lasting solution should be done to calm the situation.

Bashir Hangi, the UWA spokesperson when contacted said his office had not yet been availed with information about the petition. The petition has been among others copied to the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities which was received on August 18th, 2022.

Statistics in the district show that six people have been killed by stray animals while several others have been injured in the district over the last one year.

In 2018, the government through UWA said it would erect an electric fence around all national parks across the country and the program was meant to start in the financial year 2019/2020.

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