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Buffalo Population in Namugongo Peninsula Declines by 70%

At least 400 hectares of Namugongo peninsula was cleared by unknown people for settlement. It comes a day after Mayuge district natural resources department ordered the eviction of encroachers from the peninsula.

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The population of buffaloes in Namugongo peninsula in Bukatuube Sub County in Mayuge district has declined by 70 percent within a space of less than ten years. Namugongo peninsula is home to forest buffaloes

They are smaller compared to grassland buffaloes, which have smaller sharp tipped horns.

A statement from the Mayuge district Vermin office shows that 18 out of the 59 forest buffaloes that were in the peninsula are existent. It attributes the fall in the number of buffaloes in the peninsula to death by Nagana and poaching. At least 400 hectares of Namugongo peninsula was cleared by unknown people for settlement last year.

It comes a day after Mayuge district natural resources department ordered the eviction of encroachers from the peninsula. Musa Lubanga, the Mayuge District Natural Resources Officer says a study carried out in Namugongo peninsula last month showed an alarming rate of destruction.

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Lukeman Kabanda, the councilor representing Bukatuube Sub County blames the encroachment and reduction of the numbers of Buffaloes to neglect.  He faults Uganda Wildlife Authority for failing to protect wildlife in Namugongo peninsula. Alphonse Ongom, the Mayuge district vermin officer who is in charge of Namugongo peninsula says the loss of Buffaloes in particular could have a significant impact on their attempts to revive the tourism industry.

He says tourists could lose interest in visiting the area if animals such as the forest Buffaloes, leopards and Warthogs are extinct. Ongom blames the spread of Nagana in the peninsula to human encroachment.

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Edward Balidawa Kafufu, the chairman Busoga Tourism Initiatives says the news of the reduction in the population of Buffaloes is bad. He says Busoga region stands to lose a lot unless something is done to protect the remaining wildlife. In 2012, tourism experts suggested that 1000 hectares Namugongo peninsula be converted into a game reserve. They argued that because of its key location it would attract both local and international tourists. 

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