Amuru district chairperson Michael Lakony has 'sentenced to death' two hippopotamuses that have continued to destroy food crops and even killed domestic animals over a period of two years in Gaya parish in Pabo sub-county.
According to Lakony, the persistent cries from the people of Amuru, and the apparent failure of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to control the two hippos has sealed the fate of the two animals, which he says are to be killed as soon as possible.
The 'death sentence' has apparently been welcomed by most residents. Silvester Odong, LC I chairperson of Pukwany village says the two hippos have so far killed 4 cows, 10 goats and destroyed over 20 acres of food crops along R.Unyama banks. Odong's recollection of the hippos' rampaging activities dates back to May 2019.
According to Odong, they are now advising locals of the area to keep watch to avoid being attacked and killed by the wild animals. To Christine Apio, a resident of Pukwany, the order to kill the hippos is music to the ears. She says she lost 5 acres of rice to the stray hippos last year and again lost another 5 acres to them this year. Apio is now worried about where she`s going to get money for her family having invested over Shs 1.5 million in the past two years.
Lakony says they have written several letters to UWA to come to the rescue of the people but all in vain. According to Lakony, the wild animals have been causing mayhem in an 8km stretch of R. Unyama from Pabo to Atiak sub-county. That is why the community has been called upon to hunt and kill the animals since "UWA has failed to come to the rescue of the local people".
Lakony observes that the biggest challenge is that the affected community members cant get compensation for their destroyed crops and animals. Our efforts to contact Hanji Bashir, the UWA communications manager were futile as his phone went unanswered.