Bush Fires Drive Out Elephants From Park (Rukungiri, Uganda)


Edson Kinene, The Monitor

Date Published

Residents of Kyenyabutongo village Kihiihi Sub-County are leaving in fear following the invasion by a herd of elephants from Queen Elizabeth National Park. The elephants are roaming the area after they escaped from bushfires in the park.

Kihiihi Sub-county LC3 chairperson, Mr Nelson Natukunda, said on Monday over 50 homes have been affected.

“The elephants have no vegetation to feed on in the park…they have invaded people’s crops…,” said Mr Natukunda.

He said the authorities have informed the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials who have deployed along the national park boundary but since there is hardly any vegetation on the park area, elephants which normally feed on trees trespass on people’s gardens. He said following massive sensitisation by UWA officials on how best people can live with life animals for mutual benefit, residents are reluctant to attack the elephants.

“People have since learnt the importance of living alongside the park animals and as such, they cannot harm them but are requesting the park officials to protect them, and ensure the animals do not destroy their crops,” he said.

The park’s conservation manager, Mr Nelson Guma, did not answer our repeated calls. But an employee with UWA, who asked not to be named, said they are doing everything to ensure that the animals are driven back to the park.