A three-year-old toddler is admitted to hospital nursing wounds he sustained when a chimpanzee attacked and injured him at Nyaituuma Village in Bulindi Sub-county, Hoima District.
The boy whose identity is concealed for ethical reasons met his ordeal after joining his older siblings to the garden to chase away monkeys that were destroying their grandmother’s food crops, when a chimpanzee turned against them and specifically injured the child, according to his mother, Prisca Ayebale.
Ms Ayebale told this online news portal that on seeing the chimpanzee attack the child, a woman who was guarding her crops against vermin in the neighbouring garden sounded an alarm that scared the ape that let go of him. However, it had already injured the boy in the buttock, penis and scrotum.
Ms Ayebale says this is not the first time chimpanzee have attacked people, revealing that at one time when she was pregnant, a chimpanzee also chased her.
She attributes the chimpanzees’ frequent incursion to people’s homes to destruction of their habitats adding that the animals are always marauding homes in search of food like mango and jack fruits among others after trees bearing fruits for their diet were destroyed.
Ms Ayebale appeals to chimpanzee conservationists to relocate the chimpanzees to a gazetted area free from human habitation to save people from attacks saying four children have so far been injured by the apes.
Mr Wycliffe Barongo, a clinical officer attending to the kid at Kihunde Hospital – a private health facility in Hoima City, said the ape caused grave injuries on the toddler’s buttock and genital parts.
Mr Moses Semahunge, the Manager Bulindi Chimpanzee and Community Project (BCCP), attributes the human-chimpanzee conflict to people destroying the animals’ habitat for sugarcane and tobacco growing.
He said to overcome the destruction; the project has replanted trees, held school outreach education programmes about chimpanzees besides sensitising the community about ways of guarding themselves against attacks.
However, Mr Semahunge says measures were put in place to avoid collisions between chimpanzees and humans revealing that boreholes were constructed near people’s homes from where to fetch water other than going to rivers in the chimpanzee habitat.
He adds that more efforts are being made to ensure that chimpanzees stay in their habitat.
According to Mr Semahunge, Bulindi sub-county alone has 23 chimpanzees with Hoima district accommodating more than 300 chimpanzees.