Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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Locals resist fruitless measures to tackle human-elephant conflicts at Queen Elizabeth Park

Local leaders in Kasese district have started questioning the mitigation measures used to reduce human-elephant conflict in the Northern sector of the Queen Elizabeth conservation area.

These say methods like use of chili pepper fences, use of fire, digging ditches were all once applied but elephants continue to cross over to human habitat.

This was observed yesterday at the launch of a project aimed at reducing human-elephant conflict within the northern sector of the Queen Elizabeth conservation area, which took place at Uganda wildlife research and training institute, Katwe Kabatooro town council in Kasese district.

While speaking to Salt TV Peter Sunday Kakule the LC.III chairperson for Nyakiyumbu sub-county noted that the methods UWA is trying to re-implement in its new project were tested but in vain; adding that the electric fence would have been a better option but it was started in the wrong areas.

Turyahebwa Ezrah the LcIII chairperson for Karusandara sub-county also added his voice saying his area being rain prone, the use of trenches does not work properly as the elephants take advantage of the water filled trench to cross over to their gardens.

Turyahebwa added that the installation of the electric fence in other parts has amplified the entry of the elephants into Karusandara as they have shifted all their attention to the area because it’s free entry and exit. He asked UWA to consider Karusandara for the electric wire fence.

In response to some of these challenges, the chief warden for Queen Elizabeth conservation area Mr. Pontius Ezuma said the continued elephant raid to areas of human habitat is due to the current increasing number of elephants but also sighting that some of the areas of human settlement were once national parks which forces them to visit the areas.

Ezuma maintained that the methods being implemented to deter elephants from devastating residents are effective but some of these work hand in hand.

Stray elephants from the Queen Elizabeth National Park have continuously become a big threat to human life and agriculture in Kasese district with people’s plantations being destroyed often without compensation from the government.

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