UWA on the spot after eight-year-old pupil is killed by elephant

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By JOLLY TOBBIAS OWINY & JULIUS OCUNGI

Residents of Latoro Trading Centre, Tegot parish in Got Apwoyo Sub County, Nwoya District have been left in grief after a marauding elephant killed an eight-year-old boy on Wednesday.
Local leaders say Griffin Ayoo, a pupil of Got Apwoyo Primary school was in the company of five other pupils going to school when he was attacked by the elephant.

The Murchison Falls conservation manager, Dr Eric Enyel confirmed the attack adding that the elephant wandered from the Park into community land on Tuesday night but became aggressive in the morning when angry locals tried to force it out of their gardens.

Dr Enyel said the wild animal while fleeing away, met the boy and grabbed him with its trunk before smashing his head on the Karuma-Pakwach tarmac road.
“Locals were chasing the elephant from a garden it invaded. They were shouting as others hurled stones at it. The elephant was already frightened and when it met the boy, it just attacked him and he died on spot,” Said Dr Enyel.

According to Dr Enyel, the incident wouldn’t have happened if the locals had used peaceful means to drive it out of their gardens or called for Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] rangers’ intervention.
He noted that although they are trying their best to dig trenches around the park to prevent wild animals from invading non protected areas, there is need for the locals to peacefully coexist with the animals.
Dr Enyel said they are already in talks with Ayoo’s family on how best UWA can contribute towards burial expenses.

The Nwoya LCV Chairperson, Mr Patrick Okello Oryema however blamed UWA management for their alleged failure to ensure that the national park is enclosed to limit movements of wild animals into community land.
He noted that over the past years, several plantations have been destroyed by marauding wild animals from the national park adding that it has discouraged many people from practicing agriculture.
“We demand that UWA officials explore alternative measures of managing the movement of wild animals because locals are becoming victims. The elephant-human conflict is bound to escalate if nothing is done,” Mr Oryema said.

Past incidences of elephant attacks
In August last year, a 42-year-old man was left unconscious after being attacked by marauding elephants that invaded Pakawera Sub-ward in Kal B Parish, Koch Goma Sub-county.
In July 2010, stray elephants killed a man identified as David Oryema and injured nine people on a farm in Kochgoma sub-county.

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