The most recent crocodile attack was reported in Mayuge district in February where a crocodile mauled a 16 year old boy Shaffic Watangwa. This is just one of the reported cases of crocodile attacks from Lake Victoria but the numbers are said to be around 10 – 20 incidents each year, according to Kisambira, awareness and education officer at UWA headquarters, Kampala.
Communities living near the shores of Lakes Victoria, Kyoga
and Edward have several times fallen prey to crocodile attacks.
Since 2017, at least 17 people were reportedly mauled and killed by crocodiles
from various districts including Mukono, Jinja and Namayingo. There were also
about 20 incidents of crocodile attacks reported in 2019.
Due to such attacks, the fishermen and communities living around
lake shores are living in fear because of crocodiles roaming the shorelines of
the lakes in their area. The fishermen say the crocodiles appear on the
shorelines at different intervals during the day.
To reduce such attacks among communities at the shores, Uganda Wildlife
Authority (UWA) has built safe cages or crocodile exclusion areas in Lake
Victoria and Kyoga where the residents are supposed to fetch water from.
However, according to Valerian Kisambira, the Awareness and Education Officer
Uganda Wildlife Authority, some people still fetch water away from the safe
cages, hence exposing their lives to the risk of crocodile attacks.
The most recent crocodile attack was reported in Mayuge district in February
where a crocodile mauled a 16-year-old boy Shaffic Watangwa. This is just one
of the reported cases of crocodile attacks from Lake Victoria but Kisambira
says that there could be around 10 to 20 incidents each year.
Kisambira advises communities living near the water bodies to always avoid
throwing food remains around the lake. He says that the remains attract crocodiles,
that later become a problem to the community.
He says to fight off an attack from a crocodile; one should hit it
right in its eyes or its forehead.
Kisambira says one should be ready to lose a limb but save a life
by hitting the animal right in its eyes.
//Cue in: “In an incident,
Cue out: … people have survived.”//
He also advises the community to avoid the known breeding areas for crocodiles
and stop bathing and washing in the lake. A bite of a crocodile is said to be an equivalent force of about 1000
tones when it claws its jaws.
Elephants are another problem, especially around the game park
corridor. At Kidepo National Game Park, the elephants destroy large numbers of
acres of crop farms every year. They also sometimes kill people they come
across notably in Kaabong and Kotido districts. Every year, at least two people
are killed or injured by stray elephants.
According to Sharon Kamuganga Kagwisa, the Warden Human-Wildlife Conflict, she
advises that one should keep a distance away from the elephants.
She adds that one should run in the opposite direction of the wind
in a zig-zag manner while making a loud noise to scare it away. An elephant is
said to be very aggressive when it has a calf.
According to Francis Ainembabazi of the UWA Community Conservation
Department in Kampala, people have encroached into the animal corridor and this
is the reason why there is an animal conflict with communities.
Unlike the elephant, experts warn that one should not flee from a
lion even when it charges at one. Stand still and withdraw slowly. Experts say
if the Lion charges at you freeze immediately and afterwards move slowly.
According to Kisambira, one should also avoid getting closer to a
leopard and if it charges at you, then you should shout, clap hands and wave
arms to appear bigger. Others to avoid include Buffaloes, Snakes and pythons.