Elephants destroy RDC’s farm in Buliisa

He says it is stipulated by law that people affected by wild animals must report to the authorities within three days of the occurrence.

Buliisa: The Resident District Commissioner for Kibaale, Mr. Godwin Angalia Kasigwa, is counting losses after a herd of elephants destroyed his plants in his farm.

The farm situated in Kizikya Cell in Buliisa Town Council Buliisa district was ravaged on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at around 2 a.m.

William Isingoma, the farm manager, told this publication that about three acres of plantation weren’t spared and approximately two million shillings had been lost.

‘’They destroyed watermelon, banana plantations, paw paw trees, and others; we have lost about two million shillings. Some of the watermelon was ready for harvest, and we were going to supply it next week,’’ he stressed.

Isingoma also stresses that the elephants first broke the fence and accessed it, adding that they are worried since this is not the first time for the elephants to destroy crops on the farm. ‘’They were about ten elephants, and this is the third time elephants have destroyed crops on the farm. We are now worried because we are incurring losses.’’

He appealed to the government through the Uganda Wildlife Authority to consider compensating them since this is not the first time they have lost their valuable plants to wild animals.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) recently advised and guided people who lose their relatives and property to wild animals to always report to the UWA, the police, local authorities, or medical officer and veterinary officer, respectively, of the nearest sub-county within three days of the incident.

Mr. Wilson Kagoro, the Wildlife Conservation Warden at Murchison Falls National Park, disclosed that once adhered to, the time frame enables the process of following the right procedures to verify the claim, and once approved, the claimants are compensated as per the law stipulated.

He says it is stipulated by law that people affected by wild animals must report to the authorities within three days of the occurrence.

Fencing off the park

The delayed electric fencing in Murchison Falls National Park has caused frustration among the residents and escalated the human-wildlife conflict in Buliisa District.

Last year, in October, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) announced plans to install 30 kilometers of low-voltage electric fencing in major human-wildlife conflict hotspots within the park. Each kilometer was estimated to cost 50 million shillings.

The fence was intended for areas where trenches are prone to siltation due to flash floods, gully erosion, and elephant activities. However, the actual installation process has been delayed in being completed.

For over a decade, wild animals, especially elephants, rhinoceroses, primates, and buffalos, have attacked and killed dozens of residents living near the park.

These animals have also devoured crop gardens, leading to food insecurity and starvation in the district.

During the commissioning of Butiaba Health Centre III in Buliisa district recently, residents asked the prime minister to intervene in the matter.

In response to these concerns, Robinah Nabbanja, the Prime Minister of Uganda, directly addressed Sam Mwandha, the UWA Executive Director, demanding an explanation for the delay in rectifying the electric fence along the park’s borders.

Nabbanja emphasized her frustration with repeatedly answering questions about the delayed fencing both in parliament and during public functions.

In turn, Mwandha assured the people of Buliisa district that the erection of the electric fence would be completed within a three-month period.

He said the ongoing efforts include deploying necessary forces and scouts to elephant-prone areas, in addition to the fence erection.

Last year, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) initiated the erection of an electric fence in Ngwedo Sub County. However, Fred Lukumu, the Buliisa District LCV Chairman, has expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of work.

He emphasizes that lives are at stake and property is being devastated.

According to district authorities, five people have lost their lives due to encounters with stray elephants, and acres of gardens have been laid to waste.

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