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Lack of Facilitation, Equipment Frustrating Community Wildlife Scouts

Johnson Odera Acellam, the Orom Sub County LC III Chairperson says that despite UWA’s recruitment of community scouts in the area as part of the strategy to manage problem animals to their dismay there has been limited response.

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Community Wildlife Scouts in Kitgum district have become reluctant to repulse stray animals particularly elephants marauding in their areas due to lack of facilitation and equipment.  Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) recruited and trained the Community Wildlife Scouts to help manage human-wildlife interaction and safeguard wildlife in areas bordering Kidepo Valley National Park.  

However, the Community Wildlife Scouts are reluctant to play their role citing lack of equipment and facilitation. This came to the limelight following an invasion of over 100 herds of stray elephants that have since June this year continued marauding and devouring immeasurable acreage of crops in over twenty villages Orom, Orom East, Kiteny and Namukora sub-counties.  

The most affected villages in Orom Sub County are Logerema, Kamanding, Lagwerlima, Agoromin and Muleme in Lolwa parish; Tikao, Gule, Wipolo and Toboi in Gule parish; Longanyura and Ceylon in Lunganyura parish.

Others villages are Locim, Nabolo, Nagolopak, Lolung and Lodwar in Akurumho parish, Orom East Sub County; Oryebo and Odilang in Pugoda East parish in Namukora Sub County; and Paloba in Palobar parish, Kiteny Sub County.  

Johnson Odera Acellam, the Orom Sub County LC III Chairperson says that despite UWA’s recruitment of community scouts in the area as part of the strategy to manage problem animals to their dismay there has been limited response. 

He says repeated efforts by the community to implore community scouts to repulse the stray animals have not yielded any results.  

//Cue in: “Community scout….

 

Cue out: ….gin moo”//

One of the Community Wildlife scouts who preferred anonymity explained that driving away stray animals is time consuming and distracts them from their personal projects.

“We’ve spent much time driving away stray elephants, which has not only made us abandon other domestic chores but it’s also risky to our lives”, said the source. 

David Obwoya, the Chairperson Wildlife Community Association, says that the equipment they received following their recruitment five years ago is worn out, which has frustrated their efforts to drive away the animals. 

 

//Cue in: “tic tye kadoko….

 

Cue out: …ki yoo”//

The Chief Warden of Kidepo Valley National Park, Samuel Amanya, says the community wildlife scouts were recruited, skilled and equipped within the community and their services are basically on a voluntary basis. 

Amanya says no specific funding has been earmarked by the Authority to facilitate the community wildlife scouts in terms of remuneration and other incentives throughout the entire country.

//Cue in: “we have 400…..

Cue out: …talking about”//  

According to Amanya, they recruited over 400 community wildlife scouts in Kitgum, Agago, Kotido Karenga and Kaabong districts. They were trained and equipped with vuvuzelas, whistles, bells, torches and gumboots to respond to incidences of human-wildlife conflict.