Following the consistent destruction and invasion of farmlands by elephants from Murchison Falls National Park, hundreds of farmers in the region have been forced out of their farmlands in Nwoya district.
Bashir Hangi, the Uganda Wildlife Authority spokesperson attributes this situation to people’s continuous encroachment on the habitats of wildlife leaving them with no option but to transcend into it.
“There has been an increase in human population and because it demands for land, people encroach on the habitat of wildlife. Wildlife has not come out of its habitat, it's the people that have destroyed forests, and now are encroaching on protected areas. This means you're making yourself a neighbour to a lion or Leopard and you don't expect the relationship to be rosy,” he said.
Hangi made the remarks on The Fatboy Show, Tuesday morning while explaining the reasons behind the continued invasion of wildlife particularly elephants from Murchison Falls National Park, onto farmlands in Nwoya district that has left crops such as maize, sweet potatoes, cassava and rice grown on huge acres of land destroyed, eaten by animals and stamped beyond budding.
He added that an increase in the number of wild animals and effects of climate change have made food scarce for the animals within their habitats hence moving out of them to search for the food and water.
As a way to avoid more problems associated with wildlife invasion on human settlements, Hangi advised that people should avoid intruding onto the land reserved and appreciate the fact that the protected areas are meant for wildlife.
He added that people should beware of the the crops they grow next to the national park as it may attract the wild animals such as pineapples, rice that will definitely attract elephants
“We normally advise people to grow unpalatable crops, but you can only request and won't force them because it's their land. If you ask someone to grow tea, they will tell you that it takes a long time before it's harvested, its market and many other questions. So you can't force people to grow certain crops but only sensitise them,” says Hangi.
He said that because the sensitization is grounded on behavioural change, it takes extended periods of time before people can adapt to what they have been told.
However, he noted that people can as well call their rescue team’s toll free numbers to notify them about straying animal(s) which they respond to immediately. On a weekly basis for example, he said, the Wildlife Authority registers over 100 cases associated with animals. Bangi appealed to people to inform them in case more of such cases are spotted.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive and Sarah every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.