USAID upbeat with elephant corridor restoration efforts

THE USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili Programme is pleased with the progress of Kilombero Elephant Corridor restoration efforts in Mang’ula Ward, Kilombero District of Morogoro Region.

Activities for restoration of the blocked corridor at Mang’ula started in 2018 by raising awareness among members of the public about the importance of the corridor and the dangers associated with blocking them.
Blockade of elephant corridor has been causing people’s deaths and destruction of properties as well as crops.

Natural Resources Management (NRM) Policy Manager – USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili, Mr Joseph Olila said at the site that the work progress was encouraging, expressing hope that in the near future elephants and people will live in harmony, with properties and crops far from destruction.

Mr Olila noted that they were collaborating well with the government, the Southern Tanzania Elephant Programme (STEP) and other stakeholders in securing the important corridor used by elephants and other animals to move between Nyerere National Park and Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
“We are really happy with what is taking place on the ground. We also work with the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) to avert human-wildlife conflict,” said Mr Olila.

He was speaking with journalists who toured the corridor, a field trip that was coordinated by the Journalism Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) under the financing of the USAID TuhifadhiMaliasili Project.
An increase in human population, increase in human activities and landscape transformation led to human-wildlife conflicts that are now being resolved, thanks to stakeholders’ interventions.

Mr Olila noted that USAID TuhifadhiMaliasili is working on seven such corridors in a bid to secure them after being blocked by human who conduct activities on them, including building houses. However, on Kilombero Elephant Corridor there are no houses were constructed.

Mr Olila envisions positivity in the restoration of the corridor, saying the future seems to be good for both elephants and humans, thanking the Mang’ula Ward villagers for listening and agreeing with STEP to see to it that the corridor is secured.

The ward residents offered land to the government for the sake of restoring the corridor.
“There is good future, a better picture is being painted now – damages caused by elephants after their passageway was blocked were huge, but due to good response from the villagers’ life is going to be good for both elephants and the people,” noted Mr Olila.

As for sustainability, Mr Olila said they involve the government, as it is the one that will have to coordinate the issue once the project is phased out.

He said the corridor will be electrically fenced in part – 12.5 kilometres. An underpass bridge on the main tarmac road has been built for the elephants to pass as they move between the two national parks.

STEP started sensitizing villagers on dangers of blocking the corridor and the necessity to secure it in 2018. It educated them on dangers of encroaching the national parks in their quest to get some of their requirements.
Morogoro Regional Natural Resources Officer, Mr Joseph Chuwa, said the region is endowed with vast natural resources. He admitted that sometimes there was inactiveness in conserving some areas and making sure animal corridors, such as the Kilombero Elephant Corridor – are not blocked.

“The corridors are very important for animals and for us as well. They enable animals move from one national park to another and this is important to enable cross breeding, so that they have different genes. It is impossible to block the animals like elephants as they go back to their corridors even after many years,” said Mr Chuwa.

After awareness raising among villagers living near the national parks, they were convinced to vacate on some of their land so as to let restoration of the corridor take place. About 307 people who voluntarily gave up parts of their farms to pave way for Elephant Corridor Restoration at Mang’ula Ward were heftily compensated to the tune of 2bn/-.

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