Death of one Elephant and three travellers in a Ugandan road accident!!!
It was a sad moment in Uganda, when Murchison falls conservation area lost one Elephant to a road accident around Karuma wildlife reserve. The incident happened during a bus accident at around 2 am. 8th June 2016, on the road stretch between Karuma and Kigumba town in Kiryandongo district. The bus belonging to “KK travelers Bus Company” caused the accident while travelling from west Nile, northern Uganda, to Kampala. The fateful energetic giant Elephant died about 1.5 km away from the accident scene. It is here that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials found it and extracted the ivory as rescue strategy to prevent ivory trade.
Besides the dead Elephant, three people are also reported to have died in the same accident including the driver, identified as Musa Aliganyira and other two; Geoffrey Ondora, 37, a resident of Ayere village Erute in Lira district and Denish Dricile, 20, a resident of Pasomo village Madiokolo sub county Arua district. Over ten passengers sustained injuries and were rushed to Kiryandongo hospital in critical condition, where they are getting treatment by reporting time.
The locals were overwhelmed by the elephant size and all other features. You could see everyone doing something either investigating, observing, standing on the carcass or taking pictures with their phones. As opposed to the Uganda wildlife authority, the custodian of all wildlife in Uganda, that they won’t allow the remains of the Elephant to be eaten by the community around but bury the carcass or leave it to decompose in the nearby forest, some social media reports and pictures circulating have shown that the local community shared the meat of the dead Elephant for domestic consumption. The UWA official had been quoted reporting that allowing the local people to eat the meat of this Elephant would tempt the local people to hunt more Elephants or wild meat if the meat was tasty to them. Besides causing increased poaching as commented, wildlife meat could cause threats of transmitting zoonotic diseases to the people and their domestic livestock once they are exposed to meat from the wild.
Most communities near the national parks suffer crop rides from wildlife. “Wildlife knows no boundaries and they get tempted by crops and other palatable pastures in adjacent communities outside the park. They move at night into areas they feel are secure for them such as community gardens or private lands. Besides the rampant poaching of Elephants for ivory in the world. Road accidents is also an additional threat to the large mammals that will continuously need to cross the highways to fill their stomachs. This also proves that wildlife crossing is not only a danger to the communities but also to wildlife when they face none community influenced problems such as road accidents.
Passengers and motorists driving in wild life protected areas need to be cautious about their speed. This will equally save the wildlife, the people and their property, as emphasized by one UWA officials.
Photo credit: The New Vision.