Arusha. The minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamis Kigwangallah says the Maswa Forest Reserve will not be reduced because it has been revealed to be the natural habitat of rhinos.
Speaking during the fitting exercise of devices of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to 18 elephants living in the forest and the Makao Community Reserve, the minister said the forest would continue to be preserved.
Over Sh800 million was spent on the exercise financed by the Friedkin Conservation Fund.
“There were requests through a certain MP (name withheld), who wanted us to reduce again the Maswa Forest Reserve. However, due to a piece of professional advice and the revelation that rhinos come from Serengeti to this natural area, we will not reduce it again,” said the minister
He explained that the Maswa Forest Reserve, which is bordered with the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Are, had currently been encroached on, turning it into a small one.
“We cannot continue to scale this area down because it has been revealed to be the natural habitat of rhinos, who come from the Serengeti area,” stressed the minister
For his part, Simiyu Regional Commissioner Anthony Mtaka pointed out that the forest was very important to the country’s future conservation, saying it was also the place, where wildebeest went into for reproduction.
“Hon minister, to us, as residents of Simiyu Region, this forest reserve is very important because it is the place where wildebeest go into for reproduction. Not only that, but also it is one of the financial sources of our region,” said Mtaka.
Friedkin Conservation Fund Director Nicholas Negri said the Maswa Forest Reserve and Makao Wildlife Management Areas are very important to the country’s conservation and which’s why, he said, his institution provided the money for keeping the elephants.