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Nine Stray Elephants Invade Kitgum

Mark Ocheng, the LCI Chairperson of Orabul village in Namokora sub-county told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Tuesday that nine elephants were sighted in their area on Monday morning.
An Elephant moves through Murchison Falls National Park in Nwoya District. Photo By Julius Ocungi
Herds of elephants have invaded Kitgum district causing fear among residents. 

The elephants reportedly strayed from Kidepo Valley National Park and invaded the sub-counties of Namokora and Orom on Monday according to reports from local leaders.

Mark Ocheng, the LCI Chairperson of Orabul village in Namokora sub-county told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Tuesday that nine elephants were sighted in their area on Monday morning.

Ocheng says the elephants didn’t cause much damage in the village because farmers had already harvested crops from the gardens. He, however, says the elephants destroyed a grass-thatched hut in their path in the neighbouring Masaka village but notes that the occupants were not injured.

Ocheng called for urgent intervention of Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA officials to help drive out the elephants citing they are a threat to human lives since 2015 when they started invading the area.

Quinto Ojwee, the LCI chairperson of mission cell also in Namokora Sub County says several trees were destroyed by the elephants yesterday in their area.

He, however, notes that the elephants left the area by evening and headed to Tikao Village in the neighbouring Orom sub-county.

Ojwee says the elephants’ invasion poses threats to agriculture citing that they are bound to return once crops especially Sim Sim, sorghum which is their favorite food is planted.

Richard Muhabwe, the acting chief warden at Kidepo Valley National Park says they were notified by the local leaders adding that a team of wildlife rangers have been dispatched to help drive away from the elephants.

He notes that the elephants have been straying over the years within the two sub-counties tracing the path they have been using citing that such invasion may be hard to stop.

“These elephants normally follow footpaths they have been using years ago. These areas were once elephants’ corridors before people took it over for settlements, time and again, these elephants will be following the same path,” He says.

Muhabwe, however, cautioned, locals to be on high alert and in extremely vulnerable cases should bang noisy or loud objects to scare away the elephants from their areas.

  Human-wildlife conflicts resulting from wild animals straying from Kidepo valley national park into communities in Agago and Kitgum district have been common in recent years. 

Late last month, a stray hyena killed nine calves in Katum East village in Padibe East sub-county Lamwo district. The hyena was later shot dead by Uganda People’s Defense Forces soldiers.

Last year, several hectares of crops were destroyed in Tikao village in orom sub-county following the invasion of elephants.