By Gerald Tenywa
Budongo, the 800-square kilometer forest, sits between Murchison Falls National Park in northern Uganda and the southern parks such as Semliki, Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National Park. But the ancient forest is now under attack from pitsawyers and poachers.
In the last one year, illegal activities have grown, with some of the illegal tree loggers setting up camps within the forest.
In addition, they are digging pit latrines in the forest, meaning they have nothing to fear and have intentions of occupying the forest for some time.
The worst affected areas include Busingiro, Biiso and Hanga.
Sources within NFA say currently, the illegal pitsawyers remove trees that used to be extracted in one month in just one day! But NFA’s acting range manager, Nuliat Tumanya differs, pointing out that illegal activities have reduced.
(PHOTOs by Gerald Tenywa)
A fading rusted sign post of Budongo central forest rese at Busingiro in Masindi forest. Budongo is Uganda’s largest forest and one of the largest in eastern Africa but is being starved of investments. The forest has a rich potential for tourism.
Masindi-Butiaba road sheltered by Budongo’s canopy. As the sun rays filter softly through the trees, the singing of birds sing and the calls of chimps can be heard on a stroll along this stretch.
One of the tall mahogany trees of Budongo. The forest has run out of mahogany and the few remaining ones are standing in the strict nature reserves.
One of the logs left behind by illegal loggers in part of Budongo forest reserves.
Another harvested log in the forest reserves left by illegal loggers.
An antelope trapped on the poachers’ snares at Busingiro.
The foot print of illegal loggers and poachers is increasing and is taking the lives of wild animals in its wake.
A poachers camp in Budongo. The poachers had taken a break from one of the active sites in Budongo.
A toilet (latrine) hole for the illegal loggers at Busingiro.
Bundles of firewood by the roadside along Masindi-Butiaba Road with Budongo forest.
Budongo forest: The good, the bad and ugly