Residents seek help after elephants ravage their crops

Tuesday April 2 2019

Loss. A farmer shows  a destroyed banana and

Loss. A farmer shows a destroyed banana and coffee plantation at Kyendangara in Kamwenge District on Sunday. Photo by Fednand Tuhame 

By FEDNAND TUHAME

KAMWENGE. Residents of Kyendangara Parish in Mahyoro Sub-county, Kamwenge District, have appealed to government to protect them from marauding elephants and buffaloes from the neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park that have destroyed their crops.

Residents said in the past two weeks, elephants have invaded Buhindagi, Omukarere, Kitomi and Kyendangara villages, and destroyed acres of banana, cassava, fruit and coffee plantations.
Mr Polito Bineguro, a resident of Buhindagi Village, said: “My two acres of coffee, cassava and banana plantations were ravaged by elephants and I don’t know what to feed my family on”.

Mr Dominic Barigye, the chairperson Buhindagi Village, at the weekend said so far, more than 300 acres of crops have been destroyed.
He said he informed authorities and they are awaiting response.
Mr Julius Byaruhanga, the Kyendangara Parish councillor, said more than 100 households have been affected.
Corporal Abubakar Mwanje, a ranger at Kararo ranger post, Kyambura sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, said arrangements were underway to send the elephants and buffaloes back to the national park.

Background about the suffering
Residents in areas neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park have battled stray animals destroying their crops for more than 50 years. The elephants used to roam in this place before the park was gazetted in 1952.
In 2016, the residents protested what they called delayed intervention by government to find a lasting solution to stop the animals from straying to their gardens.

Whereas most people look forward to nightfall after a day of hard work, residents in areas surrounding the park, especially Rubirizi District, dread it as they spend the night guarding their crops against wild animals.
Animals, especially elephants and hippos, terrorise sub-counties of Kichwamba, Kirugu, Katerera, Kyabakara and Kyambura at the entrance to the park on Bushenyi-Kasese highway.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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