By Harriet Asingura
Kitinda a shore line on lake Victoria in Katabi town council Wakiso district, is proving to be an epitome of reptiles more especially crocodiles. Early this year when the water levels started rising, local residents started citing some crocodiles at one of the spots where they usually go fishing. “We can now spot six young-ones at the site,” confided Sulaiman Sekagya one of the residents at Kitinda cell.
After Ssekagya had spotted the crocodiles for the first time, he called out to fellow fishermen who subsequently notified the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center (UWEC) for intervention. The team from UWEC headed by the outreach officer Philip Katabulawo has made several reach-outs to the site and urged fishermen to keep away for a moment as UWEC makes effort to partner with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to wage a way forward.
It is believed that Kitinda Lake-side used to be a breeding area for Crocodiles before sand-mining was started in the area. “You can realise that ever since sand-mining was halted in this area, Crocs and other reptiles are reclaiming what used to be theirs,” explained a one Zedde an elder in the area. However, fishermen are still hesitant to stop fishing in the area, which exposes them to a high risk of being attacked by the wild creatures.
Oswald Tumanya a senior field operator with UWA said, the only alternative is to relocate the crocodiles to the national parks if they really become a threat to the locals but he as well looked at it as an advantage to start developing the site into a tourism hub for crocodiles viewing.
Between 70s and mid 90’s, Kitinda was reportedly a well known habitat for crocodiles but as the times changed with more encroachment that involved sand mining in the lake, the reptiles disappeared.
With help of the army, sand mining has since been stopped at Kitinda. The rising water levels, is another factor that may have forced the Crocodiles to look for other breeding areas, finding their way at Kitinda lakeside.