UWA digging deep trenches to tame marauding elephants in Oyam from Murchison Park

UWA digging deep trenches to tame marauding elephants in Oyam from Murchison Park
Elephants in Murchison National Park.

Oyam, Uganda | URN | Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has started digging deep trenches along the border between Murchison Falls National Park and Oyam district. This is one of the attempts by UWA to restrain marauding elephants from crossing into the community.

The trenches stretch from Akuridia through Bombay, Apala A and Apala B villages, all in Juma and Zambia Parishes in Kamdini Sub County, a distance of 17 kilometres. Wilfred Chemutai, the UWA Karuma Sector Chief Warden is optimistic this would stop animals from crossing into the community because elephants and Buffaloes usually find it difficult to jump or cross trenches.

Chemutai said UWA will fund construction for a distance of 3 kilometres, while the 14 kilometres will be constructed by the local authority using revenue shared from UWA. Kamdini Sub County Chairperson Sam Ogwang Alunyu says Kamdini is set to receive about 145 million Shillings which they shall use it to finance the project.

However, Rolex Akena Ogwal, a resident of Myene Sub County also the former area district councillor is worried that the trenches may only provide a temporal solution. Akena wants UWA to install an electric fence along the Murchison Falls National Park borderline as a permanent solution.

He says that the continued crop destruction by wildlife has increased both hunger and poverty rates in the area and claimed several lives.

Records indicate that up to four people have been killed by marauding elephants in Kamdini Sub County and several crops destroyed since October 2018. The recent elephant invasion victim was Benson Omara, the catholic Catechist of Bombay Chapel.

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Similarly, Richard Ekuka, the LCI chairperson of Dicunyi village described elephants as creative animals capable of defusing trenches by filling it with soil or stone to pave their way. Ekuka says erecting an electric fence along borderlines is the only permanent solution to animal invasion in the area.

The Uganda Wildlife Act 2017, which President Yoweri Museveni assented to on 1 July 2019, provides for the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife and also allows for the compensation of those injured or killed by the wildlife.