BY JOHN B. THAWITE 20.01.2012
A killer crocodile, weighing about 1,000 kg and linked to the deaths of three people and a calf in the last three years has been captured in Kasese district.
The Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area manager, Nelson Guma, said the reptile, aged about 45, weighing some 800 kg, measuring 4.1 metres long and 0.65 metres wide, was captured on Friday afternoon around the shores of lake Edward.
“It could be the one that has been attacking the residents of Katwe/Kabatooro Town Council,’ Guma told Sunday Vision.
The croc is suspected have killed and mauled a 15-year-old child, Joshua Tugume of Rwenjubu cell, Katwe/Kabatooro Town Council, around Christmas as he and his four friends were bathing in the lake.
Joshua Tugume was in P.3 last year at Katwe Boarding Primary School in Katwe/Kabatooro Town Council.
Since Tugume’s death, the UWA staff had been surveilling the animal.
“Our staff in Queen Elizabeth National Park, backed by our headquarters staff, captured it this afternoon,'' Guma told Sunday vision Friday evening.
Guma said a wound was found on the reptile, compelling him and his staff to transport it to a holding facility in Entebbe on Friday night to avoid do so during the day when it is hot.
He said it would be treated and relocated to Murchison National Park, where there are not communities living around.
“This is our first step to reduce the threat. Next month, we shall start fencing off some water points around lakes Edward and George to enable the people and their livestock there to safely access the water,” Guma said.
John Fisher Beinomugisha, who led the operation, told Sunday Vision Friday evening that the croc was captured around Rwenjubu village on the shores of lake Edward, at 4.00 p.m.
Beinomugisha said the croc might have been wounded while trying to attack hippos in the lake.
“We had laid a wire trap tied to a strong a floating log and baited with lungs of a cow. So when the crocodile tried to eat the cow lungs, its jaws were trapped,” he said.
He said the UWA staff then pounced on it, blind-folding it with a thick piece of cloth and each ranger then grabbing and tying a different part of its powerful body with a strong rope, subduing it before whisking it away on an UWA track.
Attacks by crocodiles in Katwe/Kabatooro Town Council
Sept 2009: Matovu Razak, a boy of 12 years of age, pupil of Katwe primary four was attacked and killed while fetching water
Dec 2010: Byaruhanga James, fisherman from Kakoni was attacked while checking his fishing nets. He survived with minor injuries
Jan 2011: Mbambu Jonice, 13 year old girl, was attacked and killed while washing clothes
Dec 2011: Mrs. Mazinga, resident of Kakoni, survived a crocodile attack while washing utensils
Dec 2011: Joshua Tugume, a P.3 Katwe Boarding Primary School pupil in Katwe/Kabatooro Town Council, is attacked and killed