MPs suggest remedy to human-wildlife conflicts

MEMBERS of Parliament have advised the government to come up with a strategic plan to identify all wildlife corridors and take appropriate measures for those which have been invaded in order to reduce human-wildlife conflicts in the country.

The lawmakers also called upon the government to speed up the process of placing beacons in national parks, protected and conserved areas.

Debating the budget estimates for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism on Friday, the lawmakers said that, it is high time for the government to find permanent solution to such conflicts, which have caused loss of lives and damage of properties.

Special Seats MP Cecilia Pareso (CHADEMA) said that instead of blaming villagers for invading wildlife corridors, the government should first identify all of them.

The legislator said after identifying them, it should categorise them and those which have been extremely and partially invaded to get appropriate solution.

“The government can decide to leave those wildlife corridors which have been extremely invaded to villagers and decide to compensate and relocate those in corridors, which have been partially invaded so as to continue retaining them,” Pareso said.

Pareso added that “such decisions should be done carefully by also injecting funds if the government is determined to see these conflicts are reduced and the wildlife corridors are strengthened.”

The MP noted that, the government should make a balance between people and wildlife because they are all important in the growth of the country’s economy.

She further said that, lack of proper coordination and land use plan have caused some of the government offices to be built in wildlife corridors.

“The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism should cooperate with other ministries and come up with appropriate land use plan and identify all wildlife corridors in order to end recurrence of human- wildlife conflicts,” Pareso said.

Another Special Seats MP Taska Mbogo (CCM) said that the conflicts between villagers and conservationists have been caused by the ministry’s failure to place beacons in its areas.

She said that for a long time most of the national parks, protected and conserved areas had no beacons thus causing people to invade them.

“The government recently embarked on placing beacons in these areas, the borders of most of the national parks are not known the situation which caused people to go and build houses in the areas,” she said.

“I advise this ministry to cooperate with the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development to identify its areas including wildlife corridors so as to end the ongoing conflicts,” the lawmaker said.

She detailed that some villages are situated within the national parks and the important services such as schools and hospitals have also been established, who should be blamed for that?

“In order to stop posing blames on villagers it is important for the ministry to identify its areas and place beacons which will demarcate them with village land,” she insisted.

On his part, Bugega Member of Parliament Simon Lusengekile (CCM) said that although the government has attributed the growing human-wildlife conflicts to increasing population, it is high time that it comes up with a plan to end the conflicts.

He said the population growth is an ongoing process thus the ministry should come up with a plan that will ensure that the population is growing and the conflicts are reduced.

The MP said the ministries of Natural Resources and the Regional Administration and Local Government should come up with a joint plan to end the conflicts.

Special Seats MP Tecla Ungele (CCM) said that despite the efforts undertaken by the government to address the problem of wild animals invading residential areas, the problem has been recurring.

She called upon the government to conduct a thorough research to find out why wild animals keep on invading residential areas and come up with solution that will provide relief to Lindi residents.

Tabling the budget estimates for his docket, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Mohamed Mchengerwa said that the government has taken numerous steps to address human-wildlife conflicts.

They include construction of 16 special stations for wildlife officers in areas facing wildlife attacks in order to strengthen patrols and contain such incidents and educating the public on how to deal with wild animals, among other measures.

He noted that the ministry will continue to implement the long, medium and short term plans to overcome the problem of human wildlife conflicts by collaborating with wananchi and other stakeholders.

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