Fear grips Unity State as floods flush out wild animals

Fear grips Unity State as floods flush out wild animals

The relentless floods hitting Unity State have had negative cumulative effects on wild animals with many of them now fleeing their flooded habitats to shelter in residential areas.

Tigers, gazelle, antelopes, elephants, crocodiles, snakes, mice, and a host of wildlife are among the latest casualties of the floods.

Unity State has for the past two months been suffering from historic floods, and although some species like fish and frogs are benefiting from the extra water, other animals are struggling to survive.

Local leaders reported that hundreds of animals and reptiles have fled their habitats in the South and have been spotted moving towards the north of Unity state.

Unity State Minister of Information Gabriel Makuei said wild animals have been sighted in residential homes, eliciting safety fears.

“The situation in Unity State is a serious risk. We were told by the owner of the home that my home now is in control of a tiger. It came and jumped the gate of the IDP camp and entered the room of someone called Dak. Even the crocodiles and monitor lizards are coming,” Makuei said

Asked to describe the number of animals that could have been severely affected by the floods, the Unity state minister said, the “number is simply a lot’’.

“Even now, I am being told that antelopes, gazelles, tigers, crocodiles, hippos, elephants, you know a lot, I cannot mention,” he replied.

Mitigation measures

The minister said the matter has been brought to the attention of the wildlife authorities and that they are asking the national government to intervene and protect civilians from the fleeing wildlife.

Floods have damaged countless homes and carried away farms but have also not spared the wild animals in the forest. They are either killed or forced to migrate to higher grounds just like the humans. 

The Minister of Animal Resources, Fisheries and Tourism in Unity State James Tunguar Ruia said the floods have not only devastated human life but also wild animals.

“The floods have affected domestic animals and wild animals as well and this has made it very hard for the animals in Unity State,” he said.

“We keep them under the wildlife protection unit, we receive tigers, three gazelles monitor lizards.”

He expressed worries that many animals might have died in the forest especially the snakes, bees, and birds whose nests might have been washed away.

There is an urgent need for protection for the wild animals and the government to come up with a long-term plan to protect both humans and wild animals.

Dak Machiek Biel, a resident at Bentiu Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDPs) at block (2), told The City Review that he was so worried when he went back to his house after work, only to find his house very disorganized by a tiger, a big wild animal under his bed.

He described it saying, “for sure it was a tiger it had reddish or orange colour with black and stripes and even white around its neck and the chest, it was hiding under my bed and when I called people to come it became very angry”.

“But I think it was defending its safety because there were a lot of people who came to see it and also when the UNPOL came for it, it was very difficult for it to be removed but they managed to take it.”

Biel said he was so disturbed by the appearance of wild animals in his house because some of them are dangerous 

“I was happy that no one was in the house by the time, imagine if there was someone by that time in the house when the tiger entered my house?” he posed.

He said there is a serious need for the government’s support to protect the wild animals, domestic and even the people mitigating flood impacts.

Santino Kondial, a resident from the Internally Displaced Persons’ camp, said two gazelles also entered his friend’s house and they managed to hand them in the wildlife protection unit in Bentiu.

“We are leaving with fear because of wild animals coming to where we are staying like snakes now are living with people in the camp and this is not safe, the life here is very troublesome,” Kondial said.