Stray Elephants from Kidepo Valley National Park Disrupt Kitgum Communities
In the northern district of Kitgum, Uganda, local leaders from Kiteny sub-county have raised concerns about the continuous intrusion of elephants from Kidepo Valley National Park. Over the past three months, these elephants have wreaked havoc on neighboring communities, affecting more than 200 households.
The chairman of Kiteny sub-county, Alfred Okema, conveyed his worries to Radio Rupiny, highlighting that the impacted areas include Paluba, Ladot-onen, and Kiteny parishes. These majestic creatures have invaded gardens, causing extensive damage to vital food crops like maize, millet, sorghum, and cassava. This disruption not only jeopardizes the livelihoods of the residents but also raises concerns about their safety.
To address the situation, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has initiated assessments for compensation, targeting 48 households that have suffered losses due to the elephant intrusions. This step aims to provide some relief to the affected families and help them recover from the damage inflicted by the wildlife.
Ronald Komakech, a councilor representing Kiteny sub-county, expressed the frustration of the local population regarding what they perceive as a delayed response by the UWA in driving the elephants back to their natural habitat within the national park. The slowness in addressing this issue has heightened tensions among the affected communities.
Samuel Amanya, the chief warden of Kidepo Valley National Park, acknowledged the challenges posed by the intrusive elephants and expressed regret over the disruption caused. He assured the public that the UWA is actively working to prevent these animals from encroaching further into human settlements, with the goal of safeguarding both the wildlife and the local residents.