ARUSHA: A TOTAL of 25 households with 172 occupants along with their 213 livestock have made the decision to voluntarily relocate from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in Arusha to other parts of the Simiyu and Arusha Regions.
The official send-off ceremony was held at the NCA offices in Karatu, Arusha over the weekend.
As he bade farewell to the residents, the NCA Conservation Commissioner Richard Kiiza urged the residents to act as good ambassadors for those who had not yet made the decision to leave.
According to him, residents who voluntarily chose to leave NCA would have their living conditions improved as they will now have freedom to reside outside the reserve and engage in other social and economic activities.
Detailing on the relocation exercise, Senior Assistant Commissioner Mdala Fedes stated that NCAA’s goals are to protect the reserve and enhance the quality of life for those who are willing to move to Msomera Village in Tanga and other areas of their choice.
Ngorongoro District Administrative Secretary, Hamza Hamza noted that the government cannot take actions to deprive its citizens access to services, instead, it is educating them so that they can understand the value of relocating to other areas that will improve their quality of life.
For their part, the residents who voluntarily consented to leave expressed gratitude to the government for compensating them, and ultimately relocate them willingly—a move they claim will enhance their quality of life.
NCAA, in collaboration with other stakeholders, continues to sensitise the public on the significance and benefits of the exercise, saying the authority has been relocating people in accordance with their will.
By 1959, the population of the NCA was said to be around 8,000.
But in October 2022, the number of residents in the area was said to have hit 110,000, adding pressure on conservation activities at the Mixed Wild Heritage site.
The sheer increase in the number of residents saw livestock competing for grass with wild animals and the mushrooming of human settlements in turn scared away wild animals, resulting in escalation of human wildlife conflicts (HWCs).