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Farmers Continue Grappling with Marauding Elephants

Samuel Owat, the project manager Gulu Natural Honey says they intent to set up 500 modern beehives in areas where the elephant attacks are rampant.
Many farmers are using the idea of bee hives to stop problem elephants
Farmers in Nwoya district are  struggling to wade off marauding elephants from Murchison Falls National Park.

Farmers have tried to adopt some of the recommended practices of keeping the elephants from their gardens but the practices seem not to be working with more elephants crossing from the Park. 

This week seven elephants crossed to a village in Kal Parish destroying several acres of cassava gardens. 
The most affected areas include Purongo, Lii,Kal, Corom and Agonga parishes among others.

In 2011 one person was killed and 11 others seriously injured by stray elephants in Nwoya district . The Elephants also killed 7 cows.

John Bosco Okullu, the LC III chairman Koch Goma Sub County says although farmers in Ogelu and Corom parishes have set up bee hives like they were advised to stop elephants from straying into their gardens this has had less impact.

According to Okullu, the bee hives only control the movement of elephants during day but don\'t help in the night and rainy seasons since the bees go back into the hives.

He says the best option is to connect the bee hives to wire fences that would trigger the bees out of their hives when the elephants knock the wires.

Robert Omwony, a farmer in Purongo says he planted five acres of cassava and sweet potatoes in 2013 but didn\'t harvest anything because of the destruction by the elephants. According to Omwony, his attempts to get compensation from Uganda Wildlife Authority didn\'t yield results.

Now, Gulu Natural Honey, an apiary project has decided to set up bee hives around the entire park boundary to help the farmers.

Samuel Owat, the project manager Gulu Natural Honey says they intent to set up 500 modern beehives in areas where the elephant attacks are rampant.

According to Owat, Uganda Wildlife Authority has already approved the project adding that the bee hives are ready for placement by the end of this months.

Jossy Muhangi, the Uganda Wildlife Authority Spokesperson says bee hives is a proven measure of curbing the elephants since they fear the sound of bees.

He cites examples of Queen Elizabeth where bee hives have been effective in controlling the marauding game animals.

According to Muhangi, although digging trenches works it is becoming challenging since the elephants use wetlands of walk along the trenches to stray into farmers gardens.

Muhangi says UWA is studying the possibility of putting up electric fences in hot spots like Oyam and Nwoya districts.