Alarm as livestock invade Ihefu valley

RUAHA National Park ecosystem is under serious threat following livestock intrusion in the area.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 livestock have pitched camp in Ihefu valley, putting the Great Ruaha River in peril.

Briefing the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) Board of trustees that had toured the area on Wednesday, TANAPA Assistant Conservation Commissioner, Mr Godwell Ole Meing’ataki, said a two-day special operation conducted in the area led to the seizure of more than 1,000 livestock who had encroached the key ecological site.

In his rejoinder, TANAPA Board of trustees chairperson General George Waitara (rtd) expressed shock on the number of livestock that had invaded the area.

“We’ve seen for ourselves the magnitude of the invasion, all of us have a noble role of protecting our natural resources,” observed General Waitara.

The TANAPA Board of Trustees chairperson raised alarm on the wildlife-livestock contact, saying it could result to wildlife habitat loss and drought.

On her part, Professor Wineaster Anderson who is also a TANAPA board member underscored the importance of the conservation agency in safeguarding and protecting the country’s natural resources.

“We’ve a huge responsibility on our shoulders that we should all feel proud of,” she said.

She laid emphasis on protecting Ruaha National Park, particularly the Ihefu valley whose water sources propels the strategic Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station.

In his remarks, TANAPA Conservation Commissioner, Mr William Mwakilema expressed his gratitude to the board for sparing time to visit the area and witness the ecological challenges.

Commissioner Mwakilema called for urgent measures of protecting natural resources lest they become extinct.

Ruaha National Park is renowned for its excellent wildlife-sighting opportunities. Combined with the low numbers of visitors, this makes it a spectacular destination.

The wider Ruaha area hosts 10 per cent of the world’s lion population and has been a Lion Conservation Unit since 2005.

The great Ruaha River travels along the southeastern border of the park.  The river name serves as the source for the national park name.

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