For Many years people that border with Queen Elizabeth national park have been in conflict with wild animals which stray and destroy their gardens. This scenario forced some residents to sleep in shift houses to guard elephants and Buffalos against crossing to their gardens and devastate cash crops like cotton that is mainly grown in the area.
Tumushabe Deus a resident of Kyenzaza village in Katerere County Rubirizi district is one of the people faced with this challenge. Tumushabe says for the last twenty five years, he has been sleeping outside and that at times is threatened by violent elephants which try to get closer to him at night but is always rescued by the game rangers after making an alarm.
Similar sentiments were shared by Atuhirwe Sarah the secretary Kyambura farming cooperative society who said that although they spend 10 million shillings every season to hire people to guard their gardens but animals still sneak in and destroy the crops.
This change has since forced government to install an electrical fence around the national park so as to stop the animals from crossing to peoples gardens. The development has been welcomed and relieved a person like Tumushabe who believes that this time round he will be able stay at his home and get some good harvests as well.
However Ephraim Kamuntu the minister of Tourism said the solution to this human wildlife conflict is that people should comply with the countys vision of transforming the economy so that they move out of subsistence economy of dependence on land and become dependent of social service sectors and manufacturing industry.
He also said a bill to strengthen conservation effort will soon be passed and will contain a provision of stiff penalties for anybody involved in illegal wildlife trade besides compensating the destroyed property and even people whose lives were lost as a result of animal attack. He was speaking at the launch of the installation of a ten kilometre electrical fence in Kirugu sub county Rubirizi district.
George Owoyesigyire the head of community conservation directorate said that much as they try all efforts they will still have to face challenges like illegal grazing and poaching of elephants, buffalos, crocodiles, hippos and Chimpanzees.
Source: www.mknewslink.com a greater western Uganda news website