Residents of Abim district have abandoned their gardens following the invasion of stray elephants. 

According to farmers, they have long been investing resources in the farms, hoping to get good harvests but it all ends in losses as the elephants continue destroying their crops.

The most affected Sub counties include Alerek Town Council, Atunga, Abim, Maga Maga, and Chamkok. The invasion of wild animals has not only destroyed crops but also threatened the lives of people.

Last week, a cyclist died on the spot and a passenger sustained injuries after knocking an elephant in the middle of the road between Otalabar and Alerek town council along Abim-Kotido road.

The deceased was identified as Denis Ngorok aged 23, a resident of Kawang Central Cell, and the injured Godfrey Okello, aged 23 years old and a resident of Akal Cell.

This comes barely a week after a pupil of Toroi Primary School in the Kaabong district was killed by a stray elephant. The deceased identified as Walter Ngiro aged 16 years old and a resident of Toroi center in Loyoro Sub County. 

Joshua Otoka, the LC III Chairperson of Alerek Town Council said that the stray elephants are wandering around the community destroying both lives and properties.

Otoka noted that the locals now live in fear and can no longer go to the gardens as the elephants destroy all the crops. He added that they tried planting Sim sim crops that the elephants do not feed on, instead, it passed through it and was destroyed as well.

Otoka said that the menace of stray elephants has pushed the community into extreme poverty and hunger because they cannot do anything productive.

John De West Ariko, the LCV Chairperson of Abim District noted that stray elephants have become a disaster to his people and the efforts to rescue them are futile.

Ariko said that several calls have been made to the Wildlife Authorities to take action against the stray elephants but all in vain. He added that the district is not part of the conservation area.

He appealed to the wildlife authority to consider driving back their animals to the conserved areas and allow people to cultivate food for their families.

Oscar Okengo, the Abim district production officer said that farmers have not cultivated in the sub counties of Alerek, Chamkok, and Atunga.

Okengo noted that over 104 farmers lost crops of an average of two acres in Alerek Town Council.

Okengo added that over 500 farmers lost all their crops in Alerek Sub County and this has discouraged them from cultivating.

He noted that the annual report for Karamoja Food Security analysis which they compiled last year indicates that Alerek and Atunga sub-counties were the most hit with food insecurity.

Martin Oryem, the warden at Kidepo Wild Life Reserve said that there are plans but the process might take a long to have a permanent solution to end the problem of the wild animal’s invasion.

Oryem said they are working on strategies to ensure that interventions are put in place to curb the situation. He said they are still lobbying for funds to fence the park using the electric fence and also employ Shepard who will be responsible for making sure that the animals do not invade the community. 

Oryem noted that they are currently facing the challenge of translocating the animals because of the porous park. He also noted that the park borders South Sudan where hunting is rampant and the animals are forced to move towards the communities in Abim, Kaabong, Kitgum, and Agago districts for safety.


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