By Gerald Tenywa
THE hippo, which has been terrorising residents in the Lake Victoria belt at Munyonyo, has been killed by rangers from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
UWAâ€™s head ranger Paul Naluma, who camped with a colleague at Bunga village, killed the hippo at 6:30am on Sunday.
â€œIt was a response to public outcry and advice from the Inspector General of Police,â€ Naluma said.
The hippo is blamed for the death of two brothers who were fishing on the lake on Friday night.
On the same night, the hippo is said to have killed an cow on a farm belonging to Katende at Bunga.
The team from the wildlife authority, assisted by a professional hunter, beheaded the carcass and took the head for cleaning and mounting as a trophy, according to Naluma.
As the UWA team was removing the head, people struggled for the meat. They overpowered the team that was against eating the meat before inspection by a veterinary doctor.
â€œWe lost control and people descended on the carcass, chopping it into pieces,â€ said Naluma. â€œEven the policemen who were deployed at the scene were fighting to get a share of the meat.â€
UWAâ€™s acting director Sam Mwandha said wild animals harbour diseases that can be passed on to human beings.
â€œThe team on the ground went against our instructions,â€ said Mwandha. â€œMeat has to be inspected and declared safe for human consumption.â€
Asked whether the population at Munyonyo is now safe and what the long-term plan for the hippos is, Mwandha said there is need to create awareness.
â€œThe hippos are not a problem, they survive on grass.â€ said Mwandha. â€œThe problem comes when the fishermen get too close to the mother hippos with babies. We have not done a count to establish the numbers, but we suspect they could be about five.â€