More than 1,000 residents in Kiyanga and Rwaburunga Sub Counties, Mitooma District are counting losses after elephants invaded their homes and destroyed gardens.
The most affected villages include Kaburara, Rutobo, and Kakiiba Bukiro 1 and 2 among others.
The elephants have destroyed banana and sugarcane plantations, jack fruit, and pineapples among other crops besides attacking people.
Ignatius Turyamuhaki, the Chairperson LC I Ruzonga Cell says that they derive their livelihood from farming, but the invasion has left them without food to feed their families.
Bosco Mucunguzi, one of the affected farmers says they are lacking what to feed their children and are also failing to raise school fees noting that the number of school dropouts in the area is increasing because children have resorted to scaring the wild animals.
The Acting Commissioner of Wildlife Conservation at the Ministry of Tourism George Owoyesigire attributes the challenge to the population growth of both humans and elephants in the area who have both invaded the other’s territory.
He also faults the growing of palatable plants like bananas near the park, that attract elephants.
However, Owoyesigire says as the Ministry and Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA are planning for short-term mitigation measures that include the use of beehives to scare away the animals and also digging trenches.
The Bees irritate elephants by stinging them and they can’t cross from the park to communities.
The Director of Conservation at Uganda Wildlife Authority John Makombo says they are planning to start assessing the boundary along National Queen Elizabeth Park to identify the right mitigation measure to prevent future invasions.
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