Human Activities Risk wildlife in Tarangire National Park

The seasonal Safari Park with authentic atmosphere is famous for its elephant migration, and huge concentrations of animals in the peak months. It is one of the 16 National Parks in Tanzania, covering an area of 2850sq kilometres with scattered baobab trees, acacia woodland that caters for wildlife food, open bush plains, swamps and River Tarangire that serves the wildlife water mostly during the dry season. The Park is overshadowed by Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Despite being a tourism hub, attracting foreign and local visitors to explore its beauty atmosphere for its wildlife, Tarangire is currently facing a serious challenge of human activities threatening the park’s survival.

The concern have been sparked by Conservationists, calling for efforts to help halt the increased human activities around the park as it is not seen as congruent with conservations of the park. “Poaching may be considered the most serious threat to survival of wildlife but daily and increasing human activities and population is another emerging and serious threat leading to degradation of the wildlife ecosystem and the wildlife loss,” says a Conservation Biologist with Wildlife Conservation Society Tanzania (WCS) Mr Howard Frederick.

Other threats to the survival of the wildlife in the area include climate change, human population, illegal resource extraction and invasive species. Mr Fredrick points out the need for urgent measures to help control the increasing agricultural and other human activities at the park stressing the need for government and other stakeholders to take quick measures to help protect the future of the park.

“The challenge impose the Park at risk of over exploitation and extinction …urgent measures were vital to help protect the resource against destruction and loss involved through the challenge (human activities),” he notes.

Agricultural activities and human population leads also to loss of migration routes and dispersal areas, water sources and loss of natural species’ habitats and exposing the wildlife animals to dangers of vanishing.

A senior Research with Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) Mr Edward Kohi points out loss of tourism revenues and jobs as the threat not only leading to environmental impact but also creating poor public perceptions and views towards the tourism attraction sites. Chief Park Warden (Tarangire National Park) Mr Stephano Qolli echoes Mr Fredrick stressing the need for urgent and strong measures that would help get rid of human activities in and around the park.

“If the trend (human activities and population increase) continues with no efforts to control human activities and population increase, we may end up having no Tarangire Park in future,” he says pointing out that the communities (Mostly the Maasai pastoralists and farmers) living around the park as the main people imposing the threats.

“The Maasai are dependent on wells and seasonal rivers and swamps inside and outside Tarangire National Park to maintain livestock herds and human settlements,” he says adding that the move lead to destruction and disturbances to the wildlife animals, blocking migration routes of wildlife animals, loss of water sources connecting to River Tarangire… which is the main source of the water serving wildlife at the park.

“The move also encourages poaching, illegal hunting and conflicts among the pastoralists and the park authority,” he says stressing that the increased human population leads to encroachment of the park’s areas and thus rendering the wildlife animals and other species in the park constrained spaces for their survival.

He expresses the need for review of policies on community land use and protected areas in order to sanctify a better distance between village protected areas boundaries for health conservations of the wildlife and other natural species. “Formalised mapping of boundaries between Communities and protected areas under policies would be vital in the conservations,” he says adding the move would help institute conservation security.

Journalists’ interventions vital Speaking in a two-day workshop organised by Tanzania Journalists for Conservation (TJC) in Arusha recently, an Instructor and Senior Journalists from BBC England Ms Tira Shubati calls on Tanzanian journalists to focus on writing on the need for conservations of the nation’s natural resources.

“You are lack…maybe the most beautiful in the world, I have got in over 26 countries but to me Tanzania is still the most beautiful country basing on its natural resources including the wildlife,” she says and stresses the need for more and more public awareness creation on the importance of conservations.

She pledges support and trainings to Tanzanian journalists in order to enable them embark on the public creation towards the conservations of the country’s resources. “Journalists stand a better chance in the fight against poaching, illegal hunting among other challenges that face the conservations of the wildlife resources in this beautiful country (Tanzania),” she notes.

Echoing Ms Tira, the Executive Director of Serengeti Preservation Foundation Mr Meyasi Mollel said journalists should come up with better strategies that would enable them to write and create public awareness on the country’s wildlife resources.

“The challenges currently facing the conservations of our natural wildlife resources can only be exposed by journalists in order for the government and other stakeholders to intervene and end challenges such as human conflicts associated with wildlife conservations, poaching and climate change impacts,” he says.