Kanungu — Farmers in Kanungu District are living in fear following the invasion of wild animals from Queen Elizabeth National Park which are destroying food and cash crops.
Kihihi Sub-county Chairman Nelson Natukunda last week said a number of elephant invasions have been witnessed between November and December. "They target maize, cassava, millet, rice and potatoes," Mr Natukunda said.
"At night we light fires around homes and gardens and hit drums and jerrycans to chase the animals. But we have no option when the animals come during the day," said Tumwikirize. He said the park rangers often appear after destruction has been done.
Conservation Area Manager for UWA, Nelson Guma, on Monday said controlling animals from invading farmers is still a challenge. "You know managing wild animals is not easy. It is still a management challenge," Mr Guma said, adding that they are digging trenches along the hot spots and monitoring all crossing points to stop the elephants from crossing.
(Extract from article by Perez Rumanzi, The Monitor, 14th December 2011)
Comment from UCF
UCF works closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to tackle crop raiding and build the capacity of the park rangers.
Uganda Conservation Foundation in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority has already intervened in Kihihi Sub County. We have dug a trench and facilitated building of the fence to stop elephants from moving out of the park into community land. This coupled with rapid responses to elephant raids and monitoring of elephant movement by UWA should minimize the impacts of the elephants. Surprisingly, the problem continues! We are then left with a question, where is the problem?
We now need a more holistic approach to integrating all possible solutions in the area. Much as we have dug trenches, some areas are not accessible; we can not dig trenches in the wetland nor put up fencing! We are currently trying out the use of bees as a deterrent to elephants, this could help stop elephants from entering community land; use of chilli may be a future intervention.
The role of the community; the community needs to be involved in maintenance of the trenches and availing support to UWA for closer monitoring of animal movements and quicker response to avoid elephants from crossing. The community is also encouraged to grow crops that are not palatable to elephants and if possible minimize cultivation on the park boundaries.
From the report above you can see that more work is needed to help these communities and thus ensure that people and elephants can co-exist. We need your support - PLEASE DONATE ONLINE NOW.