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Kasese families at risk of starvation as elephants destroy gardens

Elephants from Queen Elizabeth National Park are crossing into human settlements and destroying crop gardens. File Photo

Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Several families in Kasese district are at risk of starvation following the destruction of their crops by elephants from Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The elephants have destroyed hundreds of their crop gardens leaving them with no hope of harvesting food.

Immaculate Masika says she had spent more than 600,000 shillings in her Irish potato garden that was destroyed by the elephants last week.

John Kikadi, another farmer says the animals destroyed about 2 acres of his potato garden, which he said was the only source of livelihood. He says part of the money he invested in the garden was acquired as a loan and is worried about how he will pay it back.

Richard Natukunda says farmers are being forced to harvest their produce when still immature, which has compromised the quality and affected their pricing.

Saad Baluku, another farmer says there is fear of hunger because people’s hopes were in their gardens which have been destroyed by elephants.

The Kasese Deputy RDC Joshua Masereka says the only hope is now in the extension of electric fence across all communities neighboring the park.

Pontious Ezuma, the Chief Warden Queen Elizabeth says they are proceeding with fencing a section of the park to eliminate human-wildlife conflict. He says they have so far fenced 19.5 and 23.3 kilometres on Rubirizi and Kasese sides respectively.

Last year, Uganda Wildlife Authority- UWA started the erection of an electric fence on the 21 Kilometre stretch along Kasese-Kikorongo around Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The pilot project is under the low solar-powered electric fencing intervention in major human-wildlife conflict hot spots.



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