Katwe, Uganda | ENTEBBENEWS.NET | Residents of Katwe neighboring lake Edward in Kasese district are abandoning rearing of domestic animals over rampant crocodile attacks.
The residents say they now live in fear because the crocodiles appear on the shorelines at different intervals during the day waiting for animals that come to drink water.
Attacks on humans have also increased. Although Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) built cages or crocodile exclusion areas on the lake, residents say, sometimes the water levels are low and they are forced to fetch water in open areas.
Robert Kasaija, the LC 1 Chairperson of Katwe landing site, says crocodiles have killed more than 30 people and 100 domestic animals mainly cows and goats in the last three years.
He adds that people around the lake area majorly depend on fishing and animal rearing but the latter is being abandoned because of crocodile attacks.
Kasaija suggests that UWA needs to capture crocodiles around the shore area and relocate them to fewer active lakes to allow the communities to diversify their incomes.
He also says that bigger fish types such as Mamba have been reduced in the lake and thinks they could be eaten by the many crocodiles.
Gabson Kabagambe, a resident of Katwe, says that due to the decline of the fishing business, people around the lake opted to take on other ventures mainly rearing animals but this is being frustrated by crocodiles.
He adds that the area doesn’t have an alternative source of water and as a result, residents rely on the lake to drink their animals.
Joseph Jagwe from Rwenjubu village in Katwe, who nearly lost his right leg last year in a crocodile attack as he was washing his children’s clothing, says he lost 10 goats in two years to crocodiles. He adds that they have severally written to UWA but there has not been any compensation or action taken.
Jane Mbambu is asking the government to provide the area with safe water points because they largely depend on the lake for domestic water and for their animals.
She says that currently many people have abandoned the salt mining business due to flooding following heavy rains in the area and need support to get alternative sources of income that could include animal rearing.
Stephen Nyadru, the Assistant Tourism Warden at Queen Elizabeth National Park advises the community to avoid the known breeding areas for crocodiles and stop bathing and washing in the lake.