Arusha. Some 49 people were killed by wild animals between 2015 and 2021 in Ngorongoro, the government revealed yesterday, stressing the need to protect the residents in the protected area.
The government is currently holding “a voluntary relocation” of the Ngorongoro residents to Handeni District in Tanga, as part of efforts to heighten conservation in the reserved area and improve living standards of the pastoral communities.
Addressing reporters yesterday, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism’s Wildlife director Maurus Msuha said 170 others were also injured by wild animals in the World Heritage Site while 842 livestock were killed in the same period.
“We are looking at a sustainable way to conserve Ngorongoro and at the same time improve the living standards of our fellow Tanzanians. They deserve education, health facilities, water, electricity and other services but unfortunately these are limited in the protected areas,” said Dr Msuha who presented during awareness seminar.
Ngorongoro is home to three ethnic groups namely Hadzabe, Datoga and Maasai who account for the largest share of the community.
The government is concerned with the increasing population and livestock which it says pose a challenge on the sustainability of the reserved area which is also key for tourism.
The human population in Ngorongoro has increased from 8,000 in 1959 when the reserve was established to 110,000 in 2021, according to Dr Msuha.
The government has identified areas in Kilindi, Handeni, Simanjiro and Kiteto districts where it now wants the Ngorongoro residents to relocate to and continue with their livelihood activities peacefully.
“Many people in Ngorongoro live in poverty and illiteracy rate is almost 64 percent. About 80 percent of the livestock in Ngorongoro belong to just three percent of the residents,” said Dr Msuha.
Already some families have moved to Handeni after compensation and facilitation by the government but the relocation has been greeted by resistance from other residents and activists who do not want to leave their “ancestral land.”
“The voluntary relocation does not only involve Maasai community but also all people around there. That’s why even the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) offices were relocated to Karatu,” said the NCAA deputy conservation commissioner, Dr Christopher Timbuka.
No eviction in Loliondo
Meanwhile, Dr Msuha stressed that there was no eviction in Loliondo where the government is placing beacons to demarcate lands for conservation and that of the human activities.
Loliondo covers 4,000 square kilometres but the government says it’s protecting 1,500 square kilometres for conservation. Dr Msuha said the protected area is the source of water for about 50 percent of the Loliondo communities and the Serengeti.
“Placement of beacons for protected areas is a common practice across Tanzania especially for wildlife and forest areas,” he said.
The government recently said it has completed placing of the 424 beacons in Loliondo and alunched a 10-day operation to tackle illegal immigrants around Loliondo.