The government has come up with a five-year action plan that seeks to protect chimpanzees and save them from extinction.
Tanzania is home to over 2,500 chimpanzees but half of them live outside the protected areas and are thus exposed to extinction due to human activities.
Under the plan, which was launched by Tanzania Wildlife Institute (Tawiri) in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the government said it will lay the foundation for securing the future of the chimpanzee population.
Speaking during the launch, the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla, said this plan will identify threats that lead to the destruction of chimpanzee core habitats and a list of strategies and activities that need to be implemented to ensure ecological restoration for a healthy chimpanzee population.
“It’s not going to be an easy task as much effort is needed to engage our people in the villages and districts, and provide them with the much needed conservation education and the importance of preserving this important resource,” he said.
According to Tawiri, the action plan mentioned threats such as small scale agriculture activities, human settlements and infrastructure near conservation areas and human infectious diseases such the common cold, tuberculosis and pneumonia which can be transmitted to chimpanzees.
“Chimpanzee population and their habitat are now facing numerous threats, calling for deliberate conservation strategies is crucial to protect them,” said Tawiri director general Simon Mduma.
The Tanzania Chimpanzee Conservation Action Plan 2018-2023 coordinated by Tawiri in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) under the financial supports of the USaid-project.
Further, the regional commissioner of Katavi, Major General (rtrd) Raphael Muhuga said they have at least 700 chimpanzees in the region which live outside the protective areas.
“This plan may show the path on how we can protect the resource and making sure it benefits us economically through tourism,” he said.