Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA in Karamoja is considering banning pastoralists from grazing in wildlife reserves. According to UWA, the presence of pastoralists has affected the breeding of animals forcing some species like ostriches to migrate to distant areas where they can not easily be traced.
Edyau Echodu, the in-charge of Bokora-Matheniko wildlife reserve told URN that there is a drop in the breeding of wild animals because people have invaded their breeding areas. ‘’Wild animals fear to mate from where there are human beings, so they reallocate to convenient places but now the pastoralists are loitering everywhere, it is scaring wild animals,’’ Echodu reiterated.
He says that they have resolved to establish breeding zones for wild animals, which are about 1,000 meters away from the grazing areas and no one shall be allowed to access the gazetted areas. Echodu also observed that due to biting hunger in the region, pastoralists who are grazing around wildlife reserves have resorted to hunting wild animals for sale and consumption.
According to him, they have also banned pastoralists from entering the wildlife reserves with dogs, bows, and arrows, which they usually use for hunting.
Micheal Loput, a pastoralist in the Kobebe grazing area confirmed that they have been killing wild animals like Digidigi and selling them to get money for food. Loput says they have long been surviving on wild meat and some of it is being used as medicine for treatment.
He urged UWA to fence the areas they have gazetted for breeding wildlife and leave part of the game reserve for them to graze their animals because there is no other place they can take their livestock. However, Justin Tuko, the Moroto Deputy Resident District Commissioner says there is a need to continue sensitizing the community to understand the value of protecting wild animals.
“Our people do not know why the government is restricting them from killing wild animals, even when we talk about tourism, they don’t know,” Tuko wondered. Tuko tasked the local leaders to embark on community sensitization on wildlife preservation and own it as their project.