By our reporter
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), working together with residents and other stakeholders have embarked on the hunt-down of man-eating crocodiles on the shores of Lake Victoria on Bukhooli Island in Namayingo District.
Mr Peter Ogwang, the warden in charge of wild animals, on Wednesday said they had been deployed in the strategic areas to get the reptiles and that they had so far captured one.
The captured crocodile weighed about 800 kilogrammes and was about five metres long. It was estimated to be between 45 and 50 years of age.
“The captured crocodile is suspected to have attacked the chairperson of Kamwanga Village as she was washing clothes on the shores of Lake Victoria. But there are also reports that five other people have so far been killed,” Mr Ogwang said.
He explained that young crocodiles feed on fish, worms and other smaller water creatures but as they grow, they resort to attacking humans who become easy targets.
Mr John Bosco Lukwago, a resident of Mwangoda Village, one of the most affected villages, said there is a sigh of relief for residents since they had started relocating them.
“After the capture of one crocodile, these officials are most likely to keep off and return to Kampala leaving more crocodiles at large. We ask that they capture all of them,” Mr Lukwago, said.
Mr John Bosco Nyebenza, the LC3 chairperson of Dolwe Sub-county, said: “Whenever a resident is attacked by the crocodile, our first check point is a nearby rock where we recover part of the remains of their body parts. So residents here call that rock a crocodile hotel.”
Mr Musitafa Muzamiru, a resident of Singila Village, said affected families whose relatives have been killed and several others suffered disabilities should be compensated by the government.
“Let government get a special fund to help the families of the victims because many homes have lost bread winners due to these reptiles, which are protected species,” he said.
However, Mr Sam Mwandha, the UWA executive director, said there was no law on compensation of crocodile victims.
“But soon a Bill on compensation of the victims will be laid in Parliament and if passed into law, a special fund will set aside money to cater for such cases,” he said.
The Namayingo District chairperson, Mr Ronald Sanya, said apart from crocodiles, hippopotami have also destroyed people’s gardens.
He urged government to extend piped water to the affected communities so that residents stop going to the lake to fetch water under risky circumstances.