By Mugerwa Fred
Communities neighboring the queen Elizabeth national park in Kasese district are living in fear after wild animals continue to rake havoc in their areas. The mainly affected are; Lake Katwe, Muhokya, Nyakatonzi and Katwe Kabatoro sub counties.
The stray animals have destroyed crops, livestock and mores worse, killed human beings, with reckless abandon. The animals include; crocodiles from Lake George and Edwards, lions, elephants and other predators. The issue requires a protection policy strategy and durable framework that is comprehensive.
The current compensation and wild life policy framework centres on protection of wild life antiquities and compensation is centered on effects of specific wild life animals and excludes crocodiles, snakes and other cunning stray animals which have claimed lives and property of the people with little or no compensation at all.
The policy, among others things, prevent people from being found in the park yet, ironically does not provide for remedies if animals come to the homes of residents and the community land. Families and communities affected wildlife feel that existing policies and legal framework governing wild life and antiquities such as Fish act, crocodile act, and compensation act among others lack the adequacy and comprehensiveness required to address the challenges caused by wild life to communities.
There is currently a rapidly growing population of crocodiles in the Kazinga channel catchment that within the recent lock down period, alone over 5 people have been killed by the crocodiles and other wild life in the park.
KRC staff visits one of the families affected by crocodiles in Hamukungu parish, Lake Katwe Sub County. In this fishing village over 10 people have been killed between January to July 2020. The local leadership at village and parish level try engaging Uganda Wild Life Authorities but their claim is that the policy does not address most of the effects caused by some animals like crocodiles in the park.
There is therefore an urgent need to address this challenge as soon as possible
The author is a program Assistant under the Governance Policy and Advocacy Unit of KRC