THE Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) has been directed to oversee best land use practices so as to avoid invasion of areas the Government has designated for tourism activities.
The directive has been issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism as it eyes more income from tourism activities, having been one of the most lucrative sectors and earning the country foreign currency since 2016.
Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Constantine Kanyasu, met with leaders of the WMA, government and investors in the reserved land to discuss challenges they are facing and the way to solve them for better tourism seasons ahead.
Burunge WMA is located in Babati, Manyara Region, along the Arusha-Babati- Singida-Dodoma Highway, about 120 kilometres from the tourist city of Arusha.
It comprises nine villages in three administrative wards whose revenue from tourism and conservation is sent back to support the local communities to conduct social and economic development activities.
The minister said complaints by investors about encroachment and invasion of the reserved land by people who conduct human activities such as fishing, animal husbandry, agriculture and even building houses must be swiftly and completely addressed.
The investors put up facilities for tourists as well as support conservation.
The WMA borders Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks that together share the rich wildlife resources living in the famous national parks in Northern Tanzania.
It is 18 kilometres from the Tarangire National park gate and 10 kilometres from the southern boundary of Lake Manyara National Park.
Tourist attractions found in the buffer zone are mostly the wildlife from Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks, typically elephants and other mammals seen in northern Tanzanian parks, including the big five - the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo.
“I am aware that Burunge WMA has a well-planned land use strategy, so it must be put into practice effectively and sustainably. The plan includes areas set aside for conservation, tourist hunting, livestock keeping and areas for investors. The ministry orders you to oversee the implementation of the plan,” directed Mr Kanyasu.
Some investors complained that the WMA was failing the nation by not controlling the areas that are reserved for tourism purposes and that poaching activities were emerging after the government had made great efforts and resources to stop the vice.
Chairman of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO), Mr Willy Chambulo, who has also personally invested in the area, said that invasion is on the rise, including some people setting up fishing camps as well as disco music being played throughout the night, something he said was not acceptable.
Burunge WMA Secretary, Mr Benson Maise, said that issues of law enforcement and overriding of responsibilities between it and other authorities has been among challenges affecting the effective management of the reserve.
He admitted that there were invasions in the reserve, fishing camps and loud music at night, hence affecting wildlife and investors.
“The complaints by the investors are true. In spite of some fishing areas of Lake Manyara being within Burunge WMA, they are managed by the Fishing Department of the Babati District Council that also issues fishing permits, things that cause a lot of challenges to us,” said Mr Maise.
He explained that in order to arrest the situation, the WMA management has formed a committee comprising members from the government and the reserve management to find solutions for the challenges.
Villages that have allocated their land for establishment of the WMA are Sangawe, Mwada, Vilima Vitatu, Ngoley, Kakoi, Olasiti, Manyara, Maweni and Magara.