By APN Reporter
A total of 240 homes boardering Queen Elizabeth National park in Kiyanga Sub County in Mitooma district have received 240 goats worth Ugsh64million declaring their commitment to guard the park.
The above funds are part of the money that the district received from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) under its program of the 20% revenue sharing with the communities which neighbors the park.
According to the district natural resources Officer Naboth Tumwiine the district received Ugshs89million in July 2017 but since then it had not been utilized due to technical procedures.
Speaking at the handover ceremony which took place on Friday at Kiyanga sub county head quarters, Jackson Badwaniza the chairperson for Kiyanga Resource Users Association declared the residents’ commitment towards fighting against illegal activities in the park especially poaching.
“We commit ourselves to guard the park by being watchers of every body’s activities around the park,” Badwaniza declared.
Their commitment comes at a time when the relationship between UWA and some communities in the park is on tension over the killing of eleven lions around Hamukungu fishing village in Kasese district which some sources blame it on pastoralists grazing in the park. In Kiyanga it was reported the relationship between game rangers and the communities has been cut off with UWA withdrawing its staff from the public.
Local leaders led by the district acting chairman Silvester Tumukurate and residents reported that two of their residents whom are suspected to have been poaching rot from the park which they blamed the killing on the game rangers.
Tumwiine said it is unfortunate to find that despite UWA’s social and economic interventions in communities, people have continued to be enemies of the park.
He highlighted activities like beekeeping, excavation of trenches in some communities boardering the park to stop animals especially Elephants from crossing, opening of roads in some communities among others.
“The money that UWA shares with you (communities) depends on how many tourists have come to visit the national park and now that Lions have been killed yet they have been the key in attracting tourists, we should get worried,” Tumwiine warned. He called for intensification of engagements between all stakeholders to conserve the natural resource