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Leaders, Communities Neighbouring Queen Elizabeth NP Ask For More Ranger Outposts

An electric fence around the park.

Leaders and residents neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National park in Kasese District have asked Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA to establish more ranger outposts to stop animal incursions into the community.

This follows increased cases of wildlife attacks that have caused loss of lives and destruction of properties. Wild animal attacks are more rampant in areas that are yet to be covered by the electric fence.

Charles John Mukiza, the LC III chairperson Karusandara Sub County, says that the sub-county has only one outpost managed by a few rangers who cannot respond to community calls timely when attacked by park animals.

He says three people from the Sub County have so far been killed by the animals in the last year alone.

Mukiza says it’s disturbing that the local community interventions including erecting barbed wires along the boundaries have been deemed null and void by UWA.

Asuman Abubakar Kule, the Muhokya Town Clerk, says that Queen Elizabeth national park is susceptible to human-wildlife conflicts, arguing that more ranger outposts would in the short run help to enhance security for both the community, wildlife and tourists.

Kule reasons that outposts can also facilitate closer collaboration on transboundary patrols including intelligence sharing and strengthening law enforcement capacity.

Saveri Mushabe, a resident of Muhokya argues that establishing enough outposts means wildlife rangers can patrol the area more extensively to deter incidences and respond faster to community alarms. He says UWA has been very slow to respond to their calls with a recent case where a hippo attacked and injured one local but it took UWA rangers over 5 hours to reach the scene.

Jane Mbambu from Kabukero in Karusandara Sub County also thinks the outposts can support rangers in their mission of safeguarding the community from attacks.

Mbambu lost over 5 acres of her potatoes last year when elephants strayed there and her attempts to seek compensation were in vain.

Babra Ndagire, the senior warden of Conservation of Queen Elizabeth national Park agrees that in some cases UWA’s response to community calls has been slow but attributes it to the low human resources.

David Mugara, the head of the Governance and Advocacy Unit at Kabaraole Research and Resource Centre-Uganda-KRC agrees that establishing more community ranger outposts can in the short run help mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. He says KRC conducted recent research and its findings indicate that whereas there is a slowdown in ethnic conflicts, there is increased tension over resources such as land and the national park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s most popular tourist attractions and boasts 95 known species of mammals including buffaloes, hippopotami, crocodiles, elephants, leopards, lions and chimpanzees and over 620 species of birds.

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