Tuesday August 26 2014

Stray hippos ravage plantations in Amuru

By Julius Ocungi

Amuru- Residents of Okidi Parish in Atiak Sub-County, Amuru District are living in fear after stray hippos invaded the area last Friday and destroyed big chunks of crops and farmland.

The hippos, estimated to be five, are believed to have come from the Murchison Falls National Park, through River Unyama that connects to River Nile.

Mr John Bosco Ocan, the Atiak Sub-county chairperson, told Daily Monitor a number of people are scared of going to their farmland, fearing that the hippos might harm them.

According to Mr Ocan, the hippos get into farmlands at night, mostly targeting sorghum, rice and other such plantations.

He said the most affected areas are Toloyang and Pwomunu villages, where the hippos have destroyed several plantations.

“We have already communicated to Uganda Wild life Authority and we expect them to act before the situation gets out of hand,” Mr Ocan said.
According to reports, it is not the first time hippos are invading the area.

Last year, it was reported that about seven hippos invaded villages in Okidi Parish, destroying several acres of rice, sorghum and other plants.
Mr Pabius Otike, the officer in charge of East Madi Wildlife Conservation Zone, said they had already responded and a team of rangers had been dispatched to handle the situation.

On the hunt
“Our rangers are hunting for the animals. We want to drive them back to the park [Murchison Falls National Game Park],” he said. However, he advised residents not attack the animals since they could turn out more dangerous when attacked.

UWA said they are working on finding ways to stop wild animals from escaping from parks into human settlements.
Last year, an eight-year-old boy was killed in Toloyang village in Atiak after he was attacked by a hippo while in the garden.

In March, stray elephants destroyed people’s crops in Bibia parish in Atiak Sub-county and also killed a 37-year-old woman.