Great strides in saving lives, curbing elephants poaching near Udzungwa

GOVERNMENT and stakeholders have registered great success in saving humans from elephant attacks near Udzungwa National Park and saving the jumbo from poaching.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park Assistant Conservation Commissioner, Mr Abel Peter, said recently at the park that poaching had re-emerged, but with support from stakeholders, they got equipment to improve surveillance in areas such as Sanje Falls and Mwanihana Peak.

He said that in two month, due to heightened surveillance, some people were arrested out of the park and they had to surrender some tusks. He hailed people in the nearby villages as they offer cooperation, such as volunteering information about the poachers.

“The security now is at its best. Members of the public show enough cooperation and now we are in control now,” he said.

He was speaking to journalists at the park after a master class in Bagamoyo. Both were coordinated by Journalists’ Environment Association of Tanzania (JET), under the sponsorship of USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili Project.

Mr Peter noted that restoring the Kilombero Elephant Corridor would shed light on Tanzania Wildlife Corridor Assessment Prioritisation and Action Plan. He noted that connectivity supports outbreeding and that there has been community engagement.

Under paths on roads and railway lines, the assistant commissioner revealed, they help to redirect elephants back to their corridors, so that they do not destroy properties nor plants and also avert injuries and deaths to humans or elephants.

Udzungwa is the biggest of the nature forest reserves under Tanzania Forest Serives (TFS) Agency and has a water catchment area with 32 rivers, feeding Kidatu and Kihansi dams that are used to produce power.

The water from the rivers is used for irrigation for crops production throughout the year.
The government through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has been in a process of getting funds from the International Development Association (IDA), housed by the World Bank in the form of a loan to finance the cost of a Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism and Growth (REGROW) Project.

Mr Peter said it was important to in place land use plan, train the public through locally trained people and make sure poaching remains a history.

Elephants use to move from Udzungwa Mountains National Park to Nyerere National Park and back, in search of different needs.

The Park offers chance to go summit to highest peaks of Luhomero and Mwanihana. The activity can best be carried out throughout the year, but dry season is the most convenient time for most mountain climbers.
Eleven primate species with two being endemic (Sanje Crested Mangabey and Iringa Red Colobus Monkeys) can be viewed at Udzungwa.

It covers an area of 1990km2 where geographically, 20 per cent of the total area lies in Morogoro region while the remaining 80 per cent being in the southern highland region of Iringa.

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