Animal Attack Book Store - CLICK HERE


from The Washington Post

Elephants Wreak Havoc in N. Uganda

By Henry Wasswa Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, August 24 1999

KAPIMPINI, Uganda (AP) -- Emmanuel Kanyamaza knows the damage that can be wreaked by what are referred to here -- not altogether affectionately -- as ``jumbos.''

Kanyamaza, a cattle herder, has looked on helplessly for a year as a band of 17 elephants, separated from the country's main herds, have run amok in northern Uganda, killing three people.

``Our gardens and houses have been destroyed, and they have been filling the wells with dust and dung,'' Kanyamaza said in Kapimpini village, 81 miles north of the capital, Kampala.

Last week, a team of game wardens and scientists -- backed by $250,000 in European Union aid -- arrived with a plan to move the wayward elephants to safer pastures.

The start hasn't been auspicious.

The team first captured the herd's matriarch and attached an electronic tracking device to her in hopes she would lead them to the rest of the herd. But soon after, the team found the female dead, with the wrecked device still on her. It was not clear how she died.

Since then, the trackers have resorted exclusively to light planes, shooting the elephants from the air with tranquilizers and then dispatching container trucks equipped with conveyer belts to move them to Queen Elizabeth Game Park in southwestern Uganda. The move is expected to last through the week.

How the 17 elephants got separated from the rest of Uganda's elephant population in the south is still a mystery.

Environmentalists believe they are victims of urban renewal.

Before human settlements encroached on their territory, the elephants' migration route stretched from northern Uganda into southern Sudan, said John Bosco Nuwe, a scientist who studies the social impact of elephants.

Nuwe said the construction of towns and villages blocked off parts of the migration route and divided Uganda's elephant population, isolating some herds on small pockets of land.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Kenya, a private group that promotes tourism urged government intervention to prevent residents from killing wildlife in central Kenya, a local newspaper reported Monday.

Samuel Munyi, head of Kenya Tourism Concern, said residents near Mt. Kenya had declared war on wildlife after elephants and buffalo killed and wounded several people and demolished crops.

``This is threatening the tourism industry, which is one of the major foreign exchange earners for the country,'' the Daily Nation quoted Munyi as saying.

Four Tanzanians have confessed to killing six elephants in southeastern Kenya in the past two months, the Kenyan government said Monday.

The four were arrested Sunday in western Tsavo National Park, but a fifth person fled to Tanzania, said Paula Kahumbu, a senior scientist at the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The agency is responsible for the protection of wildlife in Kenya, which banned hunting in 1977 in an attempt to minimize elephant poaching.

© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

BACK to Animal Attack Files