Saturday January 11 2014

Officials express concern over poisoning of wild animals

By Enid Ninsiima

Rubirizi- Uganda Wildlife Authority officials in Queen Elizabeth Protected Area (QEPA) are alarmed by the poisoning of the protected animals.

“We now have a big challenge of lion and elephant poisoning in this area yet they are the most liked animals by tourists,” said QEPA manager Mr Nelson Guma.
He was speaking during a party for wildlife officials at the park headquarters in Katunguru, Rubirizi District this week.

Mr Guma said poachers have changed from killing the big mammals by shooting to poisoning them. The poachers reportedly target elephants for ivory.
He added that lions are mostly killed by pastoralists who want to graze in the protected area at night.

Herdsmen graze cattle in the park at night due to scarcity of water and pasture following the dry season.

“We have lost many lions in areas where there is land conflict between the park management and communities,” Mr Guma said.

He said the situation is alarming and warrants quick intervention.

He said poisoning is common in Kasenyi, Nyakatonzi, Hamukungu and Katunguru.
Rubirizi District Chief Administrative Officer Moses Kanyarutokye asked police to arrest and prosecute those killing wild animals.

“It is out of our negligence that such precious species are lost,” Mr Kanyarutookye said.