THE public has been advised to avoid blocking wildlife corridors as they are important and widely used by animals that may endanger people’s lives if blocked and are a source of income to the locals.
The Private Sector Engagement Manager, USAID TuhifadhiMaliasiliActivity, Dr Elikana Kalumanga said in Bagamoyo recently that ecologically the corridors are important in that they provide habitat for plants and animals in human-dominated environments.
The wildlife corridors also are escaping route for diseases, fires, droughts, floods and competition, among others. They are also helpful for cross-breeding; hence reduce inbreeding and genetic loss.
They are also pathways by animals undertaking a range of movements, including daily or regular movements, seasonal and migratory movements, dispersal movements, and range expansion.
Dr Kalumanga was addressing journalists at a two-day refresher and master training classes that was coordinated by the Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) and funded by USAID TuhifadhiMaliasili Activity.
Socially, the expert said, the corridors support other non-tourism livelihood activities, referring a case of Kwakuchinja Corridor that connects Lake Manyara National Park andTarangire National Park. There are activities such as beekeeping, fishing in Lake Burunge, livestock keeping through rotational grazing on protected grazing land.
Dr Kalumanga said that economically, the wildlife corridors are areas for tourism investment, with a case of Kwakuchinja Corridor. Investments can be done in things like accommodation facilities, for example the Un Lodge En Afrique, Maramboi Tented Lodge, Lake Burunge Tented Lodge, Tarangire River Camp, OsupukoTarangire Lodge and EBN Hunting Safaris Limited.
“About 200 people are employed in accommodation facilities at Kwakuchinja Corridor, there are also 19 souvenir shops that sell different cultural products to tourists,” he said.
The expert added that 33,151 tourists visited Burunge Wildlife Management Area
(BWMA) in 2019 (8,020 residents and 25,131 non-resident tourists). Due to Covid-19, only 10,919 tourists visited BWMA in 2020(3,881 residents and 7,038 non-resident tourists).
As regards to the concept of connectivity, is used to describe how the spatial arrangement and the quality of elements in the landscape affect the movement of organisms among habitat patches.
A landscape or local area with high connectivity is one in which individuals of a particular species can move freely between suitable habitats, such as favoured types of vegetation for foraging, or different habitats required for foraging and shelter.
There are different types of wildlife corridors; natural wildlife corridors that are non-linear and man-made (underpass) – infrastructure development, for example Nyerere Selous- Udzungwa.
JET Executive Director, Mr John Chikomo said the training was building on training conducted in FY22, adding that journalists were empowered to have the right knowledge, skills, and attitude to be able to conduct investigative reporting on biodiversity conservation, combating wildlife crime, and climate change issues.
He noted that the training would fill in the gap between the desired performance and the current performance. The activity was under the Project Name: Media and Journalism Training on TuhifadhiMaliasili Activity.
The director mentioned objectives of the teaching as to see journalists have sufficient knowledge of corridor conservation issues, particularly those pertaining to wildlife connectivity, marine and forest conservation, trafficking and poaching, and the promotion of wildlife conservation and tourism.
A wildlife corridor, habitat corridor, or green corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures such as roads, development, or logging.
This allows an exchange of individuals between populations, which may help prevent the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity, via genetic drift, that often occurs within isolated populations. Corridors may also help facilitate the re-establishment of populations that have been reduced or eliminated due to random events such as fires or disease.
This may potentially moderate some of the worst effects of habitat fragmentation, wherein urbanisation can split up habitat areas, causing animals to lose both their natural habitat and the ability to move between regions to use all of the resources they need to survive. Habitat fragmentation due to human development is an ever-increasing threat to biodiversity, and habitat corridors are a possible mitigation.