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Minister urges wildlife experts to balance conservation, people's livelihoods

Minister urges wildlife experts to balance conservation, people's livelihoods

NATURAL Resources and Tourism Minister, Damas Ndumbaro on Tuesday challenged wildlife scientists and researchers to strike the right balance between conservation and people’s livelihoods.

While acknowledging the complexity of managing protected areas in the country, Dr Ndumbaro rallied the wildlife experts gathered at the Arusha International Conference Center (AICC) for the 13th Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) Scientific Conference to come up with solutions that will address people’s livelihood and biodiversity conservation.

“Conservation areas are fast becoming grazing land, and the result is the ever increasing rise of human wildlife conflicts, this situation calls for an urgent need of finding a lasting solution on the two,” urged the Minister.

According to Dr Ndumbaro, Tanzania was one of the best countries in conservation; however such a feat could be compromised if human livelihoods and wildlife conservation go unchecked.

“Let’s take note of the decreasing natural grassland, we might have nothing in the future and this will be detrimental to the 2bn-a-year sector,” warned the Minister.

Dr Ndumbaro further challenged the scientists to delve on and switch their focus on the ever-changing land use trend, noting that land which was once used for conservation purposes was fast being turned into human settlements, hence sporadic waves of human wildlife conflicts.

He equally tasked the vegetation experts and conservation managers to look for remedies of invasive and alien species which were fast suppressing and threatening the ecologies of Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Dr Ndumbaro also took note of the blockage of wildlife corridors, coupled by the increasing number of livestock where he informed participants of the conference that the number of livestock in the country had reached 67million from just nine million at independence.

About 32.5 per cent of the total land in Tanzania is conserved, which is equivalent to 945,000 square kilometers of the whole country.

In his earlier remarks, the Director of Wildlife at the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, Maurus Msuha described the conference as an ideal platform for the country’s conservation.

“Conservation issues have to be scientifically informed and communicated, that’s why we are all here today,” explained Dr Msuha.

On his part, TAWIRI Director General, Ernest Mjingo said the high profile meeting brought together prominent and up and coming scientists to disseminate and share wildlife research findings and experiences with the government, Wildlife Management Authorities, Conservation partners and the general public.

According to Dr Mjingo, a total of 180 presentations, five keynote papers and 41 poster presentations will be delivered during the three-day conference.

Themed “Wildlife research for enhanced biodiversity conservation and livelihood improvement”, the conference will also feature topics for discussions, such as Human-Wildlife Interactions; Habitat and Biodiversity Conservation; Ecosystem Health and Wildlife Diseases; Climate Change and ecological resilience.

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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