Herds of elephants have strayed from Kidepo Valley National Park into community
farmlands in Orom Sub-county, Kitgum District.
The elephants reportedly invaded three parishes of Gule, Lungayura and Lolwa in
early June according to reports from local authorities.
Orom Sub-County Chairperson Johnson Todera Acellam says that close to 200
hectares of food crops have since been destroyed by the marauding elephants.
Acellam says the destroyed crops include Maize, groundnuts, simsim, finger
millet, soya beans, cassava and banana plantation.
He notes that the destruction has sparked fear of hunger in the coming months
since some of the crops like groundnuts and maize were already due for harvest.
//cue in: “ena wa loki…
Cue out:…ki poto labolo.”//
He says the elephants have been destroying people’s crops for the past weeks
without any intervention from Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA officials. Acellam
notes that the UWA team have failed to drive away the herds of elephants due to
their few numbers citing that only four UWA rangers have been deployed in the
area that covers over 26 villages.
//cue in: “peko mukene ma...
Cue out:…romo gwoko ne."//
Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech acknowledges the
invasion of the stray elephants adding that they have deviated from the
wildlife corridor by 15 kilometres into human settlement areas. He says the
elephants strayed from Kidepo Valley National Park through entry points of
Motot, Wicoro, and Lungayura.
Komaech says security has come up with a resolution to deploy joint security
personnel comprising the Police, Anti-Theft Stock Unit, Uganda Prisons, and
Uganda People Defence Forces-UPDF soldiers to drive out the stray elephants. He
says the one-week exercise will be commanded by Uganda Wildlife Authority
//cue in: “We came up…
Cue out:…settlement and gardens.”//
He adds that in a recent meeting they held in Orom Sub-county, locals were
advised to devise measures of keeping the elephants away from their gardens
through growing red pepper, beekeeping and digging trenches.
Efforts to get comments from UWA Spokesperson Bashir Hangi were futile by press
time as he didn’t pick this reporter’s repeated phone calls.
This is not the first time elephants are straying from Kidepo Valley National
Park into community land and ravaging crops. In May this year, about 20 herds
of elephants strayed from the conservation area into areas of Lolwa, Lulia,
Kurumuk and Tikao leaving trails of destruction in the community.