The Uganda Wildlife Authority – UWA is facing funding gaps to expedite the low solar power electric fence installation along national park boundaries to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
In 2018 UWA, a government agency mandated to sustainably conserve, manage and regulate wildlife, both within and outside the protected areas embarked on fencing 308 kilometres of park lines in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks in both Kasese and Nwoya Districts.
Vanice Mirembe, the Manager Awareness and Human-Wildlife Relations disclosed that of the overall target, they have managed to install electric fence poles covering a distance of about 74 kilometres around Kyenzeza in Rubirizi, Kagarama in Kasese, Purongo and Lii in Nwoya Districts respectively.
Mirembe reveals that each kilometre of an installed electric fence costs about 50 million shillings, and overall, to achieve the targeted 308 kilometres require approximately 1.5 trillion shillings funding to undertake the venture.
She says apart from financial backing from Space for Giants, UWA has received a funding boost from World Bank Group to additionally extend 64 kilometres of fence at Queen Elizabeth park later but beginning with seven more kilometres of electric barrier and 17.7 kilometres in Murchison Falls before June 2022.
In a recent interview with URN, Emmanuel Orach, the District Chairperson explained that the wild beasts have devastated the livelihoods of the community in Nwoya, thus threatening the peace and food security of the population.
For instance, in Nwoya, at least over 3,000 acres of cumulated farmland in Lii, Kochgoma, Got-Apwoyo, Lungulu, Anaka and Purongo Sub-Counties were destroyed and at least 20 people were killed by marauding elephants that invade human settlements from Murchison Falls National Park in the past six months.
In November 2021, Martin Mugarra Bahinduka, the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities visited the affected communities and acknowledged that trenches were not helping end the human-elephant conflict in the area. He, however, pledged Government’s commitment to ending the human-wildlife conflict in hotspot areas.
Problem animals across the 10 national game parks such as elephants, baboons, buffalos, hippopotamuses and crocodiles among others have continued to intensify human-wildlife conflict. According to UWA at least two people in Uganda experience cases of human-wildlife conflict every day.
However, UWA has also been implementing other interventions such as scare shooting, digging trenches, planting repellent pepper, bee-hives, bangers and active guarding of the park by rangers among others to promote human-wildlife co-existence, but with minimal impact.