KAGADI – The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Problem Animal Management team has pitched camp in Kagadi district to deal with the problematic crocodiles in the area.
This is in response to reports from residents of numerous crocodile attacks in the area.
The community has blamed UWA for neglecting the plight of residents who are threatened by the man-eating reptiles.
The beasts have reportedly killed several people from different parts of the district in the last few months.
The marauding reptiles also threaten the lives of residents who fetch water from some water sources.
The UWA team in charge of problematic animals says that they decided to hunt down the crocodiles after getting media reports that they were killing people.
According to UWA, one crocodile has been picked from a designated trouble spot in Rwabugongoro, Ndaiga in Kagadi in an operation that lasted three days.
“These will be relocated back to Murchison Falls,” said a UWA official.
Residents have accused the UWA officials of protecting the man-eating crocodile.
They said that UWA should have surrendered the man-eating beast to residents who had come armed with pangas (machetes), sticks, and spears to kill the animal.
UWA team insisted that their role is to protect endangered wildlife.
President Yoweri Museveni last month assented to the Uganda Wildlife Authority Bill 2017, which stipulates that people found guilty of trading in endangered species will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The law also gives communities living at the periphery of Uganda National Parks a right to compensation for any damage to their property or lives that is induced by wild animals outside the Protected Areas.
Most exciting about the new law is a clause that stipulates the introduction of compensation for wildlife induced damage in communities outside the Protected Area (National Park). This means that whenever wildlife animals escape from their sanctuary and get into none protected areas where the community lives and cause substantial damage; such damage must be compensated according to stipulated guidelines.
Previously, Wildlife-induced damages outside the Protected Area that includes loss of life; destruction of crops and domestic animals has not been compensated by UWA because it was not provided for in the existing laws. This has been a contentious issue between the community living near national parks and UWA authorities over a long time.
The new law also stipulates the introduction of heavy punishment for anyone found committing crimes involving wildlife endangered species. According to the law, anyone found guilty after committing a crime involving wildlife endangered species will be sentenced to a fine of not less than Ugx 20 billion or get life imprisonment or get both punishments depending on the gravity of the matter.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority Act 2019 also stipulates clearly community participation in Wildlife conservation by strengthening their management capacity through the community wildlife committees for each Protected Area.