BY Annonciata BYUKUSENGE
Residents of the Kamwenge district around the Kibale National Park said that the long deterrent trench network dug by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in order to stop the elephants that used to come out for destroying plants of people in their farms, killing people and injuring them; helped them to reduce the conflicts they had with these animals as the residents live around of this park told Rwandanews24.
Immaculate Tukamushabe, is one of farmers who live near of Kibale national park. She talks about how they lived with the elephants before they were banned from the park.
“The elephant is a powerful animal that no one can stand in front of. Before the UWA banned them, some of our children were dropped out school because we were afraid that they would come in contact with it and kill them. Another thing is that we planted, but we did not harvest because they destroyed our crops and we were always famished.
Bashir Hangi, Communications Manager for the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). An interview with Rwandanews24, said that they helped these community to change their behavior on wildlife conservation and supported them to form a group of wildlife conservation.
“The elephants used to destroy the people’s crops, but we built fences and holes so high that they couldn’t jump over to destroy their crops. We helped these residents to unite by raising bees that provide them with sufficient production and the money from the activities of the park (revenue share) reaches them so that they can develop and maintain a good life.” Said Hangi.
Farmers who live near of Kibale National Park say that now they cultivate and harvest their ripe crops and get enough produce because the elephants are no longer around. Now when they see an elephant or other animal in the park they don’t think of harming it because they have been given the opportunity of trainings to protect them, now they are wildlife conservation activists.
Bashir Hangi, Communications Manager for the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) advised journalists participated in Workshop on Wildlife and Conservation Reporting in Fort Portal, Uganda, when they visited the Kibale National Park: “Go deeper when telling wildlife and conservation stories. Show the benefits to livelihoods as well as benefits to wildlife,” he said.
He called on editors to encourage more hopeful and uplifting stories in their environmental coverage too.
The Easter African Environmental journalists attended this workshop hosted by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network are from Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.