By Fred Turyakira
Uganda Wildlife Authority has arrested four men for reported illegal hunting and killing of animals in Lake Mburo national park in western Uganda.
UWA officials, on Friday raided an illegal hunting base in Bunonko village, Kikatsi sub-county in Kiruhura district and nabbed four men.
Others scampered off during the ambush, said Justus Tusuubira, the area conservation manager.
Carcasses of impala, bushbuck, waterbuck, warthog and roasted meat of other edible animals were found at the camp.
Also two motorbikes, 39 bicycles, 36 spears, 28 nets and an assortment of camping gear of jerrycans, plates, saucepans and beddings were confiscated.
The suspected poachers are Silverio Tinkamanyire, 72, Yowana Tibingana, 52, Jackson Banyanga, 50 and Bernard Bukenya, 19.
All the four are from the sub-counties of Rubindi and Rwanyamahembe in Mbarara district.
They were handed over to Sanga Police station in Kiruhura district for further investigations.
Seventy-two-year old Tinkamanyire said he joined other poachers on Wednesday after being granted permission by the Rubindi sub-county LC I chairperson.
But the go-ahead was meant for hunting bush pigs which destroyed crops of farmers in Kikatsi sub-county.
The chairman signed Tinkamanyire a document to go hunting.
trueThe UWA found animal carcasses, two motorbikes, 39 bicycles, 36 spears, 28 nets and an assortment of camping gear. PHOTO/Fred Turyakira
The area conservation manager piled the blame on the local leaders and land owners. He blamed the area leaders for lacking vigilance on the arrival of new people in the area.
Tusuubira said the land owners are at fault for letting poachers settle on their land who end up killing animals in the park.
Poaching and illegal grazing remain a huge challenge in the national park tucked away in the western part of the country.
In the financial year ending 2012, 139 suspected poachers and farmers grazing illegally in the park were arrested.
Tusuubira said animals are being killed by the community who harbor poachers.
They claim that the wild animals from the national park have increased in numbers and that some destroy their crops.
But Tusuubira explained that there’s a spot hunting program with the community, where people neighboring the park are allowed to hunt animals outside the park.
He said the hunters under the program have benefited from it because they are paid a lot of money after killing a certain animal.
He appealed to local leaders to cooperate with UWA management in sensitizing the community the value of conserving wildlife as government gets a lot of funds from tourism.
UWA busts four poachers in Lake Mburo NP