Bush burning hinders UWA’s apiary project in Karamoja

She said the method has worked in Murchison Falls National Park, which has minimal cases of bush burning.

By Christopher Nyeko

Karenga: Rampant bush-burning practices by poachers are frustrating an apiary project initiated by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to control the incursion of problem animals into community land.

Uganda Wildlife Authority 2021 adopted the practice of deploying beehives across the boundary of the park as one of the proactive deterrent measures to control the problem animals from invading the people’s crop fields.

Gertrude Kerabo, senior warden of community conservation in Kidepo, says under the livelihood project, they have purchased and distributed up to 400 beehives to the community members using the revenue sharing from the park.

She disclosed that the hives cover a 3-kilometer area neighboring the park in the areas of Karenga and Lokori Sub-Counties, all in Karenga district.

According to Kerabo, the method has worked in Murchison Falls National Park, which has minimal cases of bush burning.

Lomilo Peter Rex, resident of Gemerech village, Luyoro parish, Karenga Sub County, stresses that beehives have not been of help since many beehives that were already colonized were reportedly burned by the bush fire.

Lomilo appeals to the government to implore other methods of driving wild animals away from the community land, for instance, giving a scary gun to the train scout so that they can flush stray elephants from their garden.

Lokong Daniel, a community wildlife scout, says the bush burning has not only affected the apiary project but also led to the destruction of several grasses, which are the main sources of income for women and girls who cut them and sell them to people who are establishing safari lodges in the conservation area for accommodation.

A bundle of grass goes for 3,000 shillings, the money women use to buy soap, salt, and other items for the family.

However, Felix Lochale, the Karenga LC5 Chairperson, says the district has started working on the ordinances that will look at curbing bush burning in the district.

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