SUSTAINABILITY of mutual coexistence between wildlife and people in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is at jeopardy as the population of both soars.
The situation is threatening the wellbeing of one of the world's natural wonders that has an enormous crater, which attracts millions of foreign and local tourists, earning Tanzania billions of shillings annually.
The NCA that was established in 1959 by the then colonial government with the aim to attain a balance in conservation, wildlife management yet maintain cultural heritage, is shockingly close to a tipping point.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources Dr Alloyce Nzuki and NCA Authority (NCAA) senior conservators are of the opinion that it is now or never that action be taken to save the world’s largest caldera ending in tatters.
Speaking at NCAA Headquarters at Karatu District on Monday, Dr Nzuki said a team had been formed to look at the matter and propose a solution to the same.
The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has also issued an alert and urged stakeholders to get equilibrium to the state of affairs.
NCAA Conservation Commissioner, Dr Freddy Manongi, was of the view that while human development is crucial, conservation and wildlife protection remains vital and is a tourism attraction.
Dr Manongi said the pressure keeps piling day in day out, closely arriving at the tipping point, a difficult time driving the officials and stakeholders to stretch their minds to the limit, to come up with solutions.
The situation has got to be addressed, otherwise, in a decade or so, the multiple land use plan will fail, he said. Needed, is a new decision so as to have sustainable development to wildlife, conservation and the people.
The 11th Parliament formed a team that looked into the matter and proposed a way forward.
Personal Assistant to the Conservation Commissioner, Mr Elibariki Bajuta noted that the population growth comes from parenting, kids growing and others migrating to the NCAA from other areas.
Since 1959 the human population has increased by 1,000 per cent to more than 100,000 people within the crater.
Among others, effects of the population growth are environmental degradation, water loss, people-wildlife conflicts, including wildlife killing cattle.
Strategies to solve the area include coming up with a new law to manage the situation.
Dr Manongi said a proposal has been brought to have a scheme with zones for every activity to ensure conservation, wildlife protection and human development.
Other strategies are to fight invasive weeds, bring about sustainable tourism, minimize development projects that negatively affects the environment and improve cattle quality so as to have few numbers of the same.
Dr Nzuki and NCCA’s senior officials are meeting editors and senior journalists in a three-day workshop to get the latter to know about the authority, its inception, gradual growth, challenges and future of the icon of Africa and the world.
Big percentage of attendees to the workshop was for a solution that all inhabitants in NCA be allocated other land outside the area so that Ngorongoro remains for wildlife solely.