Preliminary investigations into an incident on April 25th 2022 where, three lions were fatally electrocuted, have revealed recklessness on the side of the proprietors of the Irungu Forest Safari Lodge whose prosecution, is identical to inevitable, The Investigatorreports.
The investigator has landed on the preliminary investigations report which lines out the chronology of the incidence on the fateful morning of April 25th 2022. Contacted over the matter, the state minister for Tourism, Hon. Martin Bahinduka Mugaara confirmed authenticity of the report and its details, adding that upon completion of investigations, all the culprits, including the Irungu Lodge management members, “would inevitably be prosecuted.”
“The national park sanctuary is gazetted for free wildlife movement”, Bahinduka however adds that people too, can live within the sanctuary as long as they can ensure wildlife conservation. On the power connectivity, the minister said all fences in National Parks are powered but with lower voltage meant to only shock and not kill the animals. “Ours is solar-powered. We suspect theirs (Irungu) is illegally connected.”
Below is the full report in verbatim, read on…
PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE DEATH OF THREE LIONS FOUND DEAD ON 25TH APRIL 2022 AT IRUNGU FOREST LODGE WITHIN KATUNGURU VILLAGE OF RUBIRIZI DISTRICT
On 25/4/2022, at around 2100hrs, information reached UWA staff in Queen Elizabeth National Park from a concerned citizen of Katunguru village, Rubirizi District that lions had been electrocuted by an electric fence of Irungu Forest Safari Lodge within Katunguru village, Katunguru sub county Rubirizi district. The acting Chief Warden, Dr. Eric Enyel, with other staff, immediately went to cross check the information and indeed found two dead lions stuck in the fence wires of Irungu Forest Safari Lodge. One was a collared mature female lion and the other was a female sub-adult. The Manager of Irungu Forest Safari Lodge, Mr. Innocent Kahwa, who had joined the UWA team was advised to immediately switch off the electricity to avoid further fatalities.
At around 2200hrs, the Team Leader Investigations for Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area worked with rangers to cordon off the scene of crime until the morning of 26/04/2022. The GISO-Katunguru S/C- Mukonzo Pascal was also available. In the morning of 26/04/2022, the Warden Law Enforcement walked the entire fence and discovered a third dead sub-adult female lion also stuck in the wires. This area was also cordoned off.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Warden Investigations, Mr. Ogik Emmanuel had travelled to Rubirizi Police station and registered a case against Irungu Forest Safari Lodge with a holding charge of killing wild animals VIDE sd reference 09/26/04/2022 and GIF 003/2022. He later came to the crime scene with Rubirizi Police Officers including OC/CID, CI, SOCCO and other detectives. Meanwhile, the Ag. Chief Warden, called on Dr. Siefert Ludwig, a wildlife veterinarian forensic expert to help with further investigation in support of other investigative efforts. Police detectives and UWA investigators documented the scene of crime before handing over the carcasses to Dr. Siefert for postmortem investigations.
Police was later interested in knowing the source of electricity that powers Irungu Forest Safari Lodge fence. On the 26th April, an electric expert from UMEME Rubirizi branch combined with UWA electrician took the lead and were guided by the Manager of the lodge to the power house. The source of power was confusing. UWA staff, Police and UMEME staff discovered that the power strength from the solar batteries was too low and couldn’t have killed the lions. They suspected the power could be illegally being sourced from UMEME lines in the area. The purported source of power was later locked and preserved by Katunguru Police.
On 27/04/2022 at around 0800hrs, the Ag. Chief Warden held a meeting with his staff (WLE, AWP, AWI, Team leader Investigations and UWA electrician) about the ongoing matter and dispatched them to Irungu Forest Safari Lodge for further inquiry about the source of electricity. They were later joined by UMEME electricians from Kasese and Rubirizi, Police IO handling the file and UPDF battalion IO, and found when the Manager had prepared his technician. The technician tried to reconnect power but all were in vain. The matter of electricity was later pushed to 28/4/2022 to allow Irungu Forest Safari Lodge management produce the technician who initially connected the power to the fence. Investigations into the matter are still ongoing.Conservation for Generations
- Joel Kenneth Ndawula is a Student of Law at Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi. He is an inspired writer, the editor and author here; a blogger of sorts.
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