Call to gazette Kwakuchinja wildlife corridor

A WILDLIFE expert has rooted for gazetting of the Kwakuchinja wildlife corridor amid increasing number of road kills in the area.

Burunge Wildlife Management Area (BWMA) Secretary, Benson Mwaise warned of prolonged incidences of wild animals getting knocked down by speeding vehicles if the crucial pathway is not gazetted.

Briefing Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) members who toured the wildlife corridor last week, he disclosed that there have been around 380 reported road kills in the area.

“The corridor is shrinking by the day, forcing wild animals to change the behaviours,” explained Mr Mwaise.

According to the Burunge WMA official, the area size has reduced from 35,000 square kilometres in the 1980s, to a mere five kilometres lately, due to increased human activities.

It is for the same reason the area has also witness an upsurge in invasive species such as Senna Obstusifolia, which according to Mr Mwaise was reportedly wreaking havoc in the area.

“These are typical invasive species which compete other palatable plants,” he said.

Mr Mwaise called on the government to fast track gazetting of the Kwakuchinja corridor to strike the right balance between people’s livelihoods and conservation.

Likewise, the BWMA official revealed that change of climate also triggered Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) in the area.

Detailing on the effects of climate change at the crucial migratory route, Mr Mwaise said wild animals such as elephants started raiding tomato farms, destroying anything that stood in their way.

He further singled out over flooding of Lake Manyara, destruction of infrastructures and siltation of Lake Manyara as some of the challenges that the BWMA has had to grapple with.

“This explains why we’ve advised residents around these areas to plant sesame seeds along elephant pathways,” he added.

On his part, JET Executive Director John Chikomo, challenged journalists to inculcate a habit of pitching solution oriented stories.

Established after the Wildlife Policy of 1998 that would later be reviewed in 2007, Burunge WMA was among the first 16 pilot study area in 2003.

JET members visited the area for a three-day fact-finding mission courtesy of courtesy of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Tuhifadhi Maliasili Project.

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