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Kapelebyong Loses 3,000 Trees to Animals During Lockdown :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Kapelebyong Loses 3,000 Trees to Animals During Lockdown

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“Some of the teachers who remained at school tried to control the community from grazing in the school compound but they were harassed. Some community members even threatened to beat up our teachers who attempted to stop them from grazing on the school compound”, Olaki said.
Animals grazing at Akore Acowa Primary School.

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Kapelebyong District Local Government has lost about 3,000 trees to cattle grazing in school compounds because of the COVID-19 lockdown. The trees planted in different schools to help preserve the environment were eaten by cattle from the neighbouring communities.  

The affected tree species include among others, Granville, Eucalyptus and Teak. Samson Olaki Okare, the Kapelebyong District Education Officer, says that most of the community members turned school compounds into grazing land.

“Some of the teachers who remained at school tried to control the community from grazing in the school compound but they were harassed. Some community members even threatened to beat up our teachers who attempted to stop them from grazing on the school compound”, Olaki said.

He explained that there wasn’t enough money to keep slashing down the grass that attracted the herders into the school compound. Some of the trees lost were donations from environmentalists and well-wishers from different organizations.

Paul Egelu, Kapelebyong District Natural Resource Officer, says the community has a very poor attitude towards environmental protection. He notes that several campaigns to plant trees in schools and other institutions have not yielded results due to the negative attitude by the community.

“We have so far planted 15,770 assorted seedlings of Granville but it takes the commitment of the community to see these trees grow. As you can see, we are suffering heavy flooding which has displaced a number of households and yet the community is reluctant on the mitigation measures”, he said.

Kapelebyong and Teso sub-region is experiencing a significant impact of climate change, which includes changing weather patterns, drop in water levels and increased frequency of extreme weather events like floods as well as drought. According to district authorities, there is looming food insecurity following a heavy downpour which ravaged crops in gardens.