The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is one of the 23 surviving species under the order Crocodylia. Nile crocodiles are known to have a wide distribution in Sub-Saharan African inhabiting a wide range of habitats including, rivers, lakes and fresh water swamps. However, wherever they occur, there is always a human-crocodile conflict and Uganda is no exception to this trend.
In Uganda, problem crocodile attacks on humans and livestock have been reported by communities in and around Lake Victoria, Lake Albert and Kafu River Basin. The most affected districts include; Rakai, Masaka, Mpigi, Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja, Mayuge, Iganga, Mukono, Karangala, Bugiri, Nakasongola and Busia among others. Some attacks have led to loss of human life. Addressing that challenge is one of the core activities of UWA under its Community Conservation Unit.
In 2001, UWA formulated a Problem Animal Management and Control Strategy and constituted a Problem Animal Control (PAC) Unit based in Lake Mburo National Park. The PAC Unit has been responding to many problem animal cases such as crocodiles, leopards and hippos as well as vermin such as vervet monkeys in most parts of the country.
Over the past several years, UWA has been able to capture and translocate problem crocodiles from various parts of the country to Buwama Islands, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre or Murchison Falls National. In the short term, UWA will continue to respond to problem crocodiles and at the same time intensify the senstisation of our communities on survival techniques.
In order to ensure sustainability of capture-translocate program, UWA in July 2008 acquired new problem crocodile capture equipment through a donation from the National Geographic Society (NGS), and we would like to take this opportunity thank the NGS for this noble gesture and support. The newly acquired equipment will go a long way in assisting the organisation in problem crocodile capture and translocations in the short term.
However, our long term effort in addressing this problem is to attach an economic value to problem crocodiles by licensing private companies to establish crocodile farms. In this arrangement, problem crocodiles will be captured by the private sector and bred in the farms for economic benefit. In the process, the effected communities will also be benefiting as the private sector companies will be paying for the captured crocodiles and the money going directly to the affected communities.
The new approach to economically utilize problem crocodiles hopes to achieve the following strategic objectives;
Reduce human-crocodile conflicts and minimise the danger caused to human life.
Minimise the negative attitude among the communities towards wildlife conservation created by problem crocodiles.
Create synergies, leverages, linkages and partnerships in problem crocodile control with district local governments, private sector and local communities.
Contribute to the incomes of rural households and fight against poverty as an incentive to protecting crocodiles from wanton killings.
Reduce UWA’s administrative costs in managing problem crocodiles.