By Ronald Musoke
Following a fatal collision involving a Kampala-bound bus and an elephant on Nov 16 near Pakwach town, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has come out to clarify that it cannot stop the animals in the national parks from roaming in the roads.
The accident led to the death of eight people, the elephant, and left up to 45 people injured.
In a press statement signed by the executive director of the wildlife authority, Andrew Seguya, UWA said animals in the national parks have the right of way and that is why motorists are advised to strictly follow a speed limit of up to 40 km/hr.
Some of Uganda’s busiest highways were constructed in the middle of national parks. Highways that pass through or near the national parks include the Pakwach—Karuma highway (Murchison Falls National Park), the Mubende—Fort Portal highway (Kibaale National Park) and the Mbarara—Kasese highway (Queen Elizabeth National Park).
According to UWA, motorists are supposed to be able to immediately stop should they find the animals crossing the highway. Hooting inside the national parks is also strictly prohibited and it is punishable by law.
However, UWA said they are currently in a process to work closely with the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to replace all the sign posts along these highways warning motorists to reduce speed when driving on sections of the roads that pass through or near the national parks.
The statement comes as UWA prepares to host thousands of visitors to the national parks as the festive season nears.