Maasai youth to join the ranks of trained wildlife rangers in Ngorongoro

Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Khamis Kigwangalla

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GOVERNMENT could soon start hiring natives with natural instincts for tracking wildlife in its efforts to reinforce and improve anti-poaching strategies.

Addressing the residents of the world-class Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Khamis Kigwangalla said most Maasai youth have ‘inborn’ flair to trace wildlife habitat, detect their seasonal movements and even mark out trespassers within their locations, skills that aren’t necessarily acquired in formal training institutions.

“We must make use of such natural talent to boost the country’s conservation efforts while at the same time pro viding gainful employment to the youth in remote hamlets and, through such engagements, help curb the rising rural-urban migration,” Dr Kigwangalla observed, during his current tour of Arusha and Manyara Regions.

The minister explained that while in Arusha, he had been compelled to make special visits to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Loliondo Game Controlled Area – choice conservation areas often steeped in human wildlife conflicts pitting local communities and other competing resource use interests.

While in Ngorongoro Division, Dr Kigwangalla held talks with NCAA managers, and later with the top leadership of the Ngorongoro pastoralists Council (NPC) where he heard ‘first-hand’ from the local communities at an open-air meeting. Chief among their concerns, area residents observed that most of their young people, formerly employed at NCAA as ‘apprentice wardens’ had since been rendered jobless following recent government directives that the minimum academic requirements should be secondary level education.

“Most of the local youths who have been working as assistant wardens in the wilderness only went up to ‘primary seven’ but were still relatively better at tracking wildlife than any collegiate counterpart – all because of their inborn natural instincts,” says Edward Maura, chairperson of the Ngorongoro Pastoralists Council.

Dr Kigwangalla said he would take the proposals to the Public Service Commis sion where the authorities could possibly find ways of assimilating the ‘naturetrained’ youth to help improve wildlife management.

Earlier, the minister had directed NCAA conservator Dr Freddy Manongi to ensure that, as a qualified scientist, he should devise means of harmonising the protection of the resources under his brief with the development of native Maasai residents who co-exist – and have shared the ecosystem with wildlife over the millennia.

Dr Manongi pledged that the NCAA injects over 2bn/- to fund the Ngorongoro Pastoralists Council every year, while his office also ensures that another 8bn/- goes into projects that benefit nearly 90,000 Maasai residents living within the conservation area.

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