By Baluku Alex
Angry farmers in Kasese district are threatening to poison and kill rogue elephants that have been invading their homes and destroy gardens.
The residents are so angry and have said they will put poison around the plantation areas to kill the elephants unless officials from Uganda Wild Authorities takes quick action.
The outcry comes few days after elephants attacked acres of cultivated land yesterday and damaged banana plantations, paw-paws, Vanilla and cotton in Rutooke irrigation scheme in Muhokya Sub-county.
Muhokya is neighboring Queen Elizabeth National park, a domicile for African Elephants.
Hakim Kimbogwe, the Rutooke Farmers’ Cooperative chairperson says they have written letters to UWA for intervention but all in vain.
In the letter the locals were calling for more deployment of game rangers in the communities neighboring the park.
Kimbogwe who lost over 10 acres of maize to the elephant invasion last season says the animals have destructed many farmlands in the area which has since reduced the locals to nearly food beggars.
Bwabasaija Jackson a resident of Rutooke village says they will now resort to the most possible way of dealing with the elephants since UWA officials have not hid to their call for protection.
Byabasaija indicates that most men like him have now abandoned their home and marital roles to start guarding their gardens in the night.
John Kyaligonza, who has had his tomato garden nearly turned into a play field after the elephant’s invasion argues that UWA has been slow to respond to their outcries. Kyaligonza lost nearly 4M of his tomato garden.
Kate Nanyonjo, a mother of 5 told Rwenzori Daily that she would rather be jailed for killing elephants that are destroying her gardens than watch while she is unable to educate her children due to lack of school fees. Nanyonjo lost her 2-acres of cotton in Rotooke. She says they will be forced to protect themselves after simultaneous attacks by the animals.
Asana Ithungu a mother of 7 says her 5 children are currently out of school since she failed to pay at least part of the school. She has lost hope because her 4 acres of cotton and simsim have been destroyed by the elephants. Ithungu says with this kind of depression, farmers will raise against the invasion.
Pontius Nzima, the Chief Warden Queen Elizabeth, however says killing the animals in the protected areas is not the best solution. He admits the lack of enough man power to enforce security around communities neighboring the park.
He says they are now in the process of having sustainable intervention focusing on stretching out the electric fencing project across the national park.
The fencing will run nearly 21km from Kasese to Kikorongo.
Elephants consume hundreds of pounds of plant matter in a single day. As a result, they place great demands on the environment and often come into conflict with people in competition for resources.