Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is facing a new threat as many animal species are being quickly eaten up by hungry Karamojong.
UWA officials say they are currently experiencing a big challenge of the wild animals in the north east of the country coming under assault of the massive poaching launched by the Karamojong warriors and now the public.
James Okware, the senior warden officer in charge of Bokora, Matheniko, Pian, and Upe game reserves said the Karamojong have launched massive illegal poaching of animals in the protected game reserves in an excuse of the current biting hunger.
He said every week about 2 to 5 people are arrested over illegal poaching and produced before courts of law.
“Right now we have 15 people in prison because of poaching in the game reserves and many continue poaching, which had gone down completely in the region,” he said.
According to Okware, from October to May, poaching in the region had gone down and the community had learnt to live together with the wildlife, but something he said has again changed.
He said whoever they arrest cried of hunger that they have nothing to eat.
Okware added however, that while some do the poaching with commercial motives, most do it for domestic consumption.
He added that as UWA they are trying to organise for massive sensitization again so that the community stops poaching.
John Ngiro, one of the tour guides in Namalu, Nakapiripirit district said many animals that had got used to people are now afraid of anyone due to poaching.
“The wild animals especially in Pian and Upe game reserves were getting used to people, as tourists could move close and watch at a close range but now they are so afraid because of being killed and eaten,” he said.
He noted that he was mobilizing other local tour guides in the district to champion the sensitization of the community to appreciate the importance of wildlife.
Karamoja region located in the north-eastern Uganda is currently experiencing hunger with Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto and Napak being the most seriously hit districts in the region.
Peter Lokut, another resident, urged the government to rescue the region with food aid saying it is hunger forcing people to kill animals for food.
“When you look at the people they are so vulnerable, they have lost all the livestock to raids, nothing to eat, no food in their granaries so the only option they have is committing crime by killing wildlife, which is wrong,” he said