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Ugandan Chief Criticized for threatening to Kill Elephants

The supreme Chief of Acholi – Rwot David Onen Acana II has been subjected to severe criticism having threatened to kill any elephants that stray from the national parks as they look for pastures and instead destroy the corps of the local people.
The Acholi chief was recently quoted in the local media to have mentioned that it is very unfortunate that after several months of sweat and hard work, the elephants come and merely destroy the crops planted. he went on to say that he was going to write to the President of Uganda Mr. Yoweri Museveni along with all the authorities responsible to inform them of his action which will begin any time soon. He added that the people of Acholis never begged for something to eat in the past and not even worked on farms of other people as it is these days. Today, they cannot even afford to provide the needs of their families or even support their children at school since farming which was the main source of income has today been affected by these elephants. Rwot further said that they are aware that it is unlawful to kill elephants, however if they are victimized and even prosecuted, they would have saved themselves from hunger.
The Chief’s temper tantrum, viewed as a populist stunt to gain traction with the people of Acholi, attracted a quick reaction from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) whose spokesman Jossy Muhangi said that the utterances were totally uncalled for and won’t solve the challenge. He further mentioned that UWA had and is still digging trenches around the critical areas around the national parks to prevent wildlife inside these areas from escaping, and also that ranger outposts are constantly patrolling to raise alerts in case any elephant goes astray. So Rather than killing these wild animals which are economically benefitting their communities, the residents should engage the authority so that we deploy more scouts as well as wardens
increasing human populations across the East and South African regions have encroached into areas that were previously wildlife corridors as well as wildlife migration routes and in some areas moved up to boundaries of the national park and farming such areas which previously were considered unproductive. This has resulted into human and wildlife conflicts within instances of animals such as lions being poisoned and killed.
In addition the spokesperson said that the Chief instead should use his cultural position to educate his local people, hold talks with the authority to see that they come up with a working solution. UWA together with local NGO’s collaborate closely and several international organizations have promised funds to help farmers. For instance, They can use bee-hives, which complement their income, or instead grow chilies that the elephant don’t like – elephants avoid places where chillies are been grown. Also the Chief should bear in mind the number of his people with jobs within the tourism sector in Uganda. Killing elephant will certainly have a very damaging impact on Uganda’s image internationally. The Uganda Tourism Board along with the private sector are soon staging the next Pearl of Africa Travel Expo edition in February and they don’t need a Chief doing bad by encouraging killing elephants. The authority together with the locals need to jointly work on this issue, thoroughly but not in a rushed way simply to attain favoritism among the locals.
In the days to come UWA and other responsible authorities will try to hold talks concerning this issue with the Acholi chief.
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