Great strides in Kilombero elephant corridor restoration  

GREAT strides have been registered in the process of community mobilisation and restoration of Kilombero Elephant Corridor, to allow simple movement of elephants between Nyerere National Park and Udzungwa Mountains National Park.

About three years were used to raise awareness among villagers of the importance of securing the corridor for elephants, a strip that the jumbos have been using for hundreds of years.

Chairperson of the National Committee on Elephants Corridors, Ms Lina Kitosi, said in Morogoro recently that she was happy with the implementation process, saying that Kilombero is among prioritised elephants’ corridor out of 61 corridors in the country.

A 12.5-kilometre-long electric fence will be constructed to ensure the elephants do not cross to people’s farms. Its width will be about 150 – 200 metres.

Ms Kitosi who doubles as Assistant Director in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs and Coordination) said human activities led to block the elephants, by either construction of houses or cultivation activities, so it is high time to secure the corridor.

In restoration of the famous corridor, an underpass bridge has been constructed at Mang’ula village in Morogoro Region, so as to let elephants pass underneath the bridge while vehicles pass above, further reducing accidents and killing of the animals and destruction of properties or loss of people’s lives.

The exercise is undertaken by the Southern Tanzania Elephant Programme (STEP) under the USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili project, by using funds from World Land Trust and private donors who believe in importance of strong protected areas and the welfare of people living around their boundaries.

Ms Kitosi thanked STEP for great job done so far, thanking villagers from Kanyenja, Magombera and Sole in Mang’ula for agreeing to offer part of their land that will be used as a widened corridor for elephants, saying her committee that consists of staff from different ministries, institutions and chairpersons of the three villages is pleased with the situation.

“We (committee) thank STEP for what they have done so far in securing this corridor, a work that started in 2018 with awareness raising among the public. Last year we had an important meeting in Arusha, setting up strategic plans to secure all 61 corridors in the country,” said Ms Kitosi.

Speaking at the committee meeting organised to discuss development of the corridor and members pay a site visit to it, the Deputy Director of Wildlife in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Fortunat Msofe, said it was her hope that elephants will be well funneled in the corridor and bring an end to deaths of people and destruction of properties.

Dr Msofe hailed stakeholders, saying that the ministry could not work alone to achieve the set targets. She thanked local government and development partners, saying it is necessary to work towards long-term security for elephants, a critical keystone and umbrella species of the incredible ecosystems of Ruaha-Rungwa and Udzungwa-Selous.

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