We must protect our wildlife resources

ON Thursday, President Samia Suluhu directed the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) to resolve cases of elephants invading villages and destroying properties in Lindi Region.

The Head of State issued the directives to the Institute after Lindi Regional Commissioner Ms Zainab Telack raised concern that jumbos were invading human habitats, including destroying crops.

But, the President was quick to warn that human activities in reserved areas are to blame for the spiraling cases as the malpractices have been denying jumbos their freedom to graze in their natural pastures, forcing them to move from their natural habitats to areas inhabited by human beings.

In many parts of the country, especially in areas where cases of elephants invading human habitats and crops are reported investigation has been revealing the jumbos take a kind of retaliatory measures after being pushed into smaller and smaller spaces.

We are acutely aware that human population is increasing such that poor farmers have little choice but to expand their farms to make ends meet, causing   elephant habitat to shrink.

Wildlife experts say an adult elephant may eat over 180 kilogrammes a day, meaning that jumbos demand large quantity of food, hence large swaths of grazing land. It is also stated that a herd can consume an entire field in one night.

Experts, however, say Land Use Plan (LUP) can help to resolve conflicts pitting human and wild animals.

Land-Use Plan or Integrated Land-Use Plan involves the allocation of land to different uses across a landscape in a way that balances economic, social and environmental values.

Its purpose is to identify, in a given landscape, the combination of land uses that is best able to meet the needs of stakeholders while safeguarding resources for the future.

Effective land-use planning provides direction on the manner in which land-use activities should take place and encourages synergies between different uses. It requires the coordination of planning and management across the (often) many sectors concerned with land use and land resources in a particular area.

Land-use planning can help manage conflicts, ease tensions, and bring about the more effective and efficient use of land and its natural resources.

It is understood that Land Use Plan is an arrangement that is normally required to be adopted and used by every village government in Tanzania. The question is-does each village have LUP? If the answer is No then we will continue hearing cases of jumbos invading human habitats, including destroying crops.




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