National Park Elephants Destroy Crops in Arua

Human-wildlife interaction has been on our screens for a long time now, as more gazetted land is encroached into. Increasingly, the animals in national parks are wandering into neighboring villages and causing havoc. This has been a problem in Nwoya district, where elephants come from the Murchison Falls National Park and eat crops.

“This is happening especially in Purongo subcounty,” says Geoffrey Okello, a resident. “Our fear is that these elephants may as well start destroying people's houses in the neighboring villages.”

The battle between elephant and man in Nwoya district dates back many years, with farmers having to flee their homes and gardens only to return to destroyed crops and houses. Although the elephant population has fallen drastically since the 70s, there is more human activity around the park, and many people live and work perilously close to the elephants’ territory. Okello adds that while there are trenches dug around villages, the park is not fenced off to prevent the animals from wandering far from the demarcated park land. The park occupies just about 3800 square kilometers of land.

A recent report (http://www.news-hapa.com/story/75/) on News Hapa painted the plight of Arua residents whose cassava plantations were being ravaged by warthogs from the same park. Before that several other News-Hapa reports had shown that farmers in other parts of Uganda face the same problem. From Kiryandongo village came this report (http://www.news-hapa.com/story/52/), while this late July report (http://www.news-hapa.com/story/50/) from Kateze district said farmers were already bracing for famine wrought upon them by attacks from national park animals.

- Aug. 30, 2013
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