Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Tom Butime has told parliament that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has created a human-wildlife conflict response unit that has been trained in the capture and translocation of problem crocodiles.
The minister was presenting a statement on the regulations to operationalize the Wildlife Fund under the Wildlife Act, 2019. The statement was responding to concerns raised by Michael Wanyama, the MP for Namayingo South, on the destruction of crops and vegetation in Namayingo District by hippopotami.
The havoc caused by the destructive hippopotami, Wanyama said, poses a food insecurity risk in the affected communities. While the minister’s response was not directly addressing the hippopotami issue as raised by Wanyama, crocodiles have equally been a menace in Namayingo.
Butime said UWA constructed 5 Crocodile safe cages in villages of Mwango 1, Butanira A, Butanira B, Mwangoda and Kisumu landing sites in Dolwe Is1and in Namayingo District to provide for safe water points for community members.
He added that, in Namayingo, a total of 10 problem crocodiles have been translocated from the areas of Lugaga (1), Bumeru (1), Dolwe (6) and Malongo (2). Cecilia Ogwal (WMP Dokolo District) said there must be high level sensitization of the community so that ‘we learn to live with the wildlife.’ So we need to invest in community protection and sustainability measures, she added.
On the issue of compensating the affected people, Minister Butime said: In order to give force to the Compensation Scheme, the Uganda Wildlife (Compensation Scheme) Regulations, 2022 No. 65 was gazetted on 5th August, 2022.”
Agnes Taaka (WMP Bugiri district noted that as the ministry operationalises the Wildlife Fund, there is need to generate a list of the affected people so that the right beneficiaries are known.
Butime said they are in the advanced stage to procure electric fence. He added that Shs900m has been earmarked for the compensation scheme.
Karim Masaba, the Shadow Minister for Tourism, sought to know if government has incorporated the wildlife compensation verification committee as highlighted in the UWA Act, 2019 into the new the compensation regulations, to avoid paying wrong people.