A hippo invasion has triggered panic among residents of Bujeje village in Bulumba town council in Kaliro district. According to residents, hippopotamuses have invaded their farm gardens and destroyed their crops.
The hippopotamuses have since pitched camp in Lumbuye swamp, which serves as both a water source for the surrounding communities and rice fields. Lumbuye is the largest swamp in Busoga sub-region, which borders Lake Kyoga in Kamuli, Kaliro and Buyende districts.
However, whenever the water levels in the lake increase, schools of hippopotamuses advance to the shallow waters for comfort and easy access to green pastures. Statistics obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA indicate that one hippopotamus feeds on an estimated 1000kgs of vegetation per night, which threatens the extinction of crop farms and all forms of green plants within their areas of abode.
Speaking to media on Tuesday, the residents say that the hippopotamus have destroyed an estimated 13 acres of both rice and maize gardens within a week’s time. Simon Jyensani, the chairperson of Bujeje village says that prior to the hippopotamus invasion, they had been exposed to crocodile attacks.
Eliasa Byakika, a resident within the area says that farming activities on the surviving gardens has immensely reduced since they can no longer access their gardens in the active early morning and evening hours when the hippopotamus are grazing.
Paul Jyantume says that that UWA rangers should devise means of capturing the hippopotamus and relocate them to deeper waters away from humans.
Norah Namukose says that after realizing the extent of damage on their crops, a section of community members acted out of frustration and attempted to scare off the hippopotamus by pelting them with stones in vain.
Madinah Namaganda says that the hippopotamus destroyed her newly planted one-acre maize garden early last week. Namaganda says that able bodied boys and men have since pitched camp in the gardens with the aim of scaring away the hippopotamus by making noise.
UWA spokesperson Bashir Hangi couldn’t be reached for comment.