By John Odyek
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has said they cannot compensate relatives of people killed by wild animals straying from national parks.
“There is no law regarding compensating people killed by animals. It is the government that should come up with laws on compensation,” Dr. Andrew Seguya executive director UWA said.
He was responding to questions from journalists regarding the compensation of people killed by animals. Seguya said lions, crocodiles, elephants are known to kill people. He said sometimes the animals come out of protected areas but at times people get killed when they enter protected areas.
Some NGOs have attempted to document the lives lost at the jaws of wild animals following complaints by various communities living around the national parks. The communities have petitioned Parliament and the ministry of tourism to help them out.
Parliament last year recommended that government should come up with a policy on human-animal conflict that will handle compensation for loss of lives and destruction of property by animals straying out of wildlife reserves and protected areas.
MPs have warned that a conflict between communities living near national parks and the wild animals could harm tourism, which is one of Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earners.
A report by the parliamentary committee on trade, tourism and industry stated that there is no policy on compensation for loss of lives and destruction of people’s property around wild life protected areas and thus causing tension within communities living around the parks.
According to reports from the Uganda Debt Network, two people from Rubirizi district were killed by animals as they dug in their gardens. One Lawrence Bihone was killed by an elephant in his garden in January 2000 and Barnabas Ngabirano was killed in 2007 by a buffalo from Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Parliament wants appropriate barriers put in place to bar wild animals from destroying property and killing people. They suggest digging trenches and constructing cages for crocodiles.
Dr Chris Baryomunsi (Kinkizi East) said families living near national parks live in constant fear of being killed by wild animals or losing their loved ones. Baryomunsi said roads for people living near parks are in bad conditions yet the roads are used by tourists.
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UWA cannot compensate people killed by wild animals