UWA Struggles to Mitigate Human-Wildlife Conflicts in Kidepo, Murchison Falls

UWA says that human-wildlife conflicts within the areas continue to manifest much as it has put in place several measures to mitigate them.
Cheetahs in Kidepo Valley National Park. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

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The Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA is struggling to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts in Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls Game Parks. 

UWA says that human-wildlife conflicts within the areas continue to manifest much as it has put in place several measures to mitigate them.   

The conflicts manifest inform of crocodile attacks, destruction of crop gardens along the wildlife corridors, poaching, encroachment in the protected areas, injuries, and killings of humans by straying wild animals among others.   

For instance, in the Kidepo Valley Park conservation areas, UWA says it registers at least 40 cases of human-wildlife conflicts weekly.   

The conservation body says it has put in place several measures like training community wildlife scouts to drive away marauding wild animals, inventing bees rearing around the protected areas to drive away elephants, introducing the planting of red chillies, and construction of an electric fence around the parks but these measures have seen very little impacts in preventing destruction by the wildlife.   

Hanji Bashir, the Communication Manager for UWA says that the conservation body is finding it quite challenging to mitigate such conflicts.   

He noted that due to the destruction and attacks by the marauding wildlife, human beings have turned into killings several wild animals in a move to avenge their destructions which they say have since been unattended to. 

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Martin Oryem, the Assistant Warden for Karenga Wildlife Community Conservation Area in Kidepo Valley National Parks says that his area is equally faced by several cases of human-wildlife conflicts which include settlements and farming along the animals` corridor as well as poaching. 

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The Karenga Wildlife Community Conservation Area covers the districts of Kitgum, Agago, Kotido, Karenga, Kaaboong, and Abim.   

Oryem says that the marauding wild animals stump on people`s crops, destroy gardens, injure or even kill people as they stray outside the parks in search of water and pastures.

He added that to mitigate such destructions, UWA has trained hundreds of volunteer wildlife community scouts and equipped them with vuvuzelas, bangers, and whistles to drive away from the wildlife whenever they stray into the communities.   

However, the wildlife community scouts say that the wild animals are already used to the measures they use to scare them.

They also say they are incapacitated to effectively carry out their operations.   

Moses Achila, one of the community wildlife scouts in Karenga Town Council Karenga District told URN that the damages caused by elephants and buffaloes in the area are appalling.   

He notes that the Vuvuzela and bangers cannot effectively drive away from the stray animals since they are already used to them.   

Achila disclosed that one of his colleagues was last year killed by a stray elephant as he tried to drive it away from a community garden.

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Peter Lomilo another Community Wildlife scout in Karenga district asks UWA to instead fence the wildlife areas to stop animals from straying into the communities since the measures put in place are no longer working.  

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Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls Parks located in Kaabong and Nwoya districts are among the ten national game parks in Uganda with thousands of birds’ species, wild animals like lions, buffaloes, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, antelopes, zebras, giraffe, rhinoceros, leopards and beautiful sceneries among other tourist attractions.