As we celebrate Heroes Day today, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) takes this opportunity to celebrate the lives of our colleagues who died or got maimed in the course of their work in the protected areas. Wildlife Management in Uganda is not a walk in the park; there are several challenges which staff face Over the past 10 years, Uganda Wildlife Authority has lost staff as a result of the following:-
- Being shot by poachers
- Falling in traps set by poachers for wildlife
- Being shot by encroachers
- Being attacked by animals especially buffaloes
- Falling off cliffs
- Being attacked by snakes
- Car accidents to or from work
Why do we call them wildlife heroes?
The UWA staff who died while on duty contributed directly or indirectly to the improvements in protected area management in Uganda today. Some of them were butchered by encroachers especially in Mt. Elgon Conservation Area, while others were shot by cattle rustlers and poachers. Below is a list of UWA staff who lost their lives or got injured while on duty during the last 10 years:-
- Paul Ngoya died at Lomej on 31st March 2003 after being shot by cattle rustlers who were crossing Kidepo Valley National Park with their loot. The deceased had spent two years with the organization.
- Mark Atimu died in 2007 in Boma after being shot dead by a casual labourer while he guarded the Boma where the park keeps animals that have been translocated from other parks. The labourer took off with Atimu’s money, radio and other property. Atimu worked with UWA for six years.
- Nelson Abwala died of a snake bite in 2006 as he performed his duty as a ranger guard at Nataba Gate in Kidepo Valley National Park.
- Abolungimoe Kalisto died in March 2013 after he fell while descending a steep slope during patrol and got pierced by his knife which he had tied around his waist. Kalisto died at Apuket in Kidepo Valley National Park and had spent 25 years with the organization.
- Mathia Oyo Odongo died near Kidepo River in 2012 after being shot by a Didingi poacher from Sudan. He had spent only one year with the organization.
- Leopold Kyarisima died near River Lokimait in Kidepo Valley National Park in 2011 after being shot by Didingi poachers from sudan. He spent one year with the organization.
- Joseph Lobolia died in September 2009 at Opotipot in Kidepo Valley National Park after being shot and injured by a fellow ranger while on duty. He had spent 16 years with the organization.
- Hillary Lotyang died at Lorukul in Kidepo Valley National Park in September 2011 during a problem animal control activity. He had also spent 16 years with the organization.
- Jackson Loruma was shot and injured at Nakudongolol in Kidepo Valley National Park in 2005 while to escort duty to Kotido. He eventually survived the injuries.
- Martine Oryem was shot at Lobel in Kidepo Valley National Park while on escort duty to Mbale.
- Joseph Olemutum was shot at Nakudongolol in Kidepo Valley National Park during escort duty to a bank in Kotido. This happened in February 2005.
- Paul Lokiru was shot at Nakudongolol in Kidepo Valley National Park during escort duty to a bank in Kotido. This happened in February 2005
- Richard Nyampamia was shot at Nakudongolol in Kidepo Valley National Park during escort duty to a bank in Kotido. This happened in February 2005
- John Barungi Lotyang suffered an accident while escorting communities back to Kaboong after a meeting with the management of Kidepo Valley National Park.
- Joseph Abolia died in a road accident while driving communities back to Kaboong after a meeting with the management of Kidepo Valley National Park. He had spent seven years with the organization. Mt. Elgon Conservation Area
- Mathew Kundu died after being kidnapped from Nataba outpost by thugs in July 2003. After kidnapping him, the thugs took him to the caldera at the tip of Mt. Elgon and murdered him. His body was discovered after a twoweeks’ search.
- Apollo Makayi, died at Nataba Outpost on the same day as his colleague Mathew Kundu (above).
- Toskin Fred was ambushed while on patrol in Suam in Mt. Elgon National Park in August 2008. He was short dead and his riffle was taken by unknown assailants.
- Gaboi Achan was attacked by unknown people in June 2009 at Bumwalukane Outpost in Sironko district as he returned from a patrol with his colleagues. Gaboi was grabbed, moved up to the mountain top and killed. Two guns were taken but later recovered.
- Kilongi Leonard was accidentally shot dead in September 2007 by his colleague while on duty in Moroto.
- Michael Wamatele accidently shot himself dead at the Bumwalukane outpost. Murchison Falls Conservation Area
- Salim Ochaki drowned and was later found floating on River Nile.
- Justine Obita died in an accident after his motor cycle was hit by a vehicle as he rode to work in Karuma Wildlife Reserve
- Alfred Koluo died after drowning near the Top of the Falls in Murchison Falls National Park. He had just returned from a marine patrol with his colleagues and was in the process of docking the boat when a strong wind swept the boat away. He jumped in the river as he tried to save the boat and ended up drowning.
- Geoffrey Etot was killed in a motor accident at Kabwoya after he got crashed by a car as he was travelling from Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve to East Madi Wildlife Reserve.
- Patrick Ochola was killed after he fell from a vehicle in Hoima as he was travelling from Murchison Falls National Park to Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve
- Irene Tusiime died after being bitten by a snake while on duty in 2012.
- Paul Lokiro was shot in the arm and broke his arm in March 2013 during an extended patrol in Ayago in Murchison Falls National Park. Lake Mburo Conservation Area
- Begumisa Kussein was shot dead in August 2002 during an operation against in Rwempogo in the northern ranches neighbouring Lake Mburo National Park. He had spend four years with the organization by the time of his death.
- Robert Mbagay, an Assistant Warden Law Enforcement in Lake Mburo National Park lost his finger in 2003 while handling a problem chimpanzee in Entebbe. He has handled several crocodile capture assignments and plays a key role in dealing with problem animals in the protected areas.
- Katwaza Lauben was injured in 2007 while handling a problem leopard in Mbare Subcounty in Isingiro District. He has worked with UWA since 2000 to-date.
- Kameraho Azariah was injured by a buffalo while guiding visitors in 2009. He was able to protect the visitors from the buffalo, but the animal injured him in the stomach. He has worked with UWA since 2002 to-date
- Andrew Opeto was injured by a buffalo while guiding visitors in 2006. He has worked with UWA since 1998 todate.
- Kakama was shot and injured by a poacher while on patrol in 2005. He joined the organization in 1998 and left 2011.
Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area
- Evaristo Behangana died in May 2009 in a road accident along the Ruhija-Kabale highway in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. He had spent six years with the organization.
- Emmanuel Bemazaki fell off a cliff at the Muremure Outpost in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in July 2012. He had spent seven years with the organization.
Kibale Conservation Area
- Kato Moses who is based in Semuliki National Park was injured by poachers. He survived and he is still performing his duties.
- Paul Naluma who was based in Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve died after he was crushed by a trailer on the Fort Portal-Bundibugyo highway. He was going to check out reports that communities had encroached on the Wildlife Reserve.
- Geoffrey Wabwire and Bosco Sanya died in motor accidents while on duty.
Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area
- Benson Bwambale was shot dead in 2012 at Kasenyi Gate in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Kobusheshe Angel was shot dead in February 2013 at the Ishasha Gate in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Peter Ogwang lost a finger to a crocodile at Buwama in 2005 as he undertook a demonstration of crocodilecapture techniques for a group of visitors from North Korea.