Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) personnel have joined Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA rangers in Orom sub county, Kitgum district to ward off stray elephants.
Since June this year, over 100 elephants believed to have escaped from Kidepo Valley National Park have been marauding in Gule, Lolwa and Lungayura parishes in Orom sub county, Akurumho parish in Orom East sub county and Pugoda parish in Namukora sub county.
Maj. Flavia Terimulungi, the UPDF 5th Infantry Division spokesperson says that the deployment follows a request by UWA to the army to boost their manpower to manage the animals.
According to Maj. Terimulungi, the deployment is not only meant to repulse the stray elephants as a way of protecting the most vulnerable citizens from losing their crops, lives and property to wildlife but also to protect and conserve the endangered wildlife.
The Kidepo Valley National Park chief warden, Samuel Amanya says the deployment of the army will indeed boost the thin workforce, which isn’t commensurate to counter the number of stray elephants marauding the area.
According to Amanya, they only have 5 game rangers and 20 community wildlife scouts in Orom sub county.
Amanya recommends exploring long-term plans of erecting electric fences and digging trenches around the park as the most appropriate way to prevent the stray animals from crossing into people’s land. Johnson Acellam Toodera, the Orom sub county LC III chairperson says that the animals have devoured an immeasurable acreage of crops in over twenty villages in Orom, Orom East, Kiteny and Namukora sub-counties.
Toodera says their efforts to manage the problem animals through rangers and community scouts deployed in mini detaches at Lutooo, Mutot Hills, and Lunganyura have failed to yield results.