Wildlife corridors, boon to local communities

THEY might be just like other ordinary pathways for animals, but wildlife corridors have proven to be a fortune to communities residing next to them.

According to an expert, the areas of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities have seen around 200 people employed in accommodation facilities along the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor in Manyara Region.

Detailing on the importance of the corridors last week, a Private Sector Engagement Manager with USAID’s Tuhifadhi Maliasili project Elikana Kalumanga further disclosed that 19 souvenir shops have been established along the corridor to sustain people’s livelihoods.

“It is important to conserve wildlife habitat connectivity mindful that they not only create healthier and safer landscapes and communities but also create local jobs, bolster domestic manufacturing, provide a boost to the outdoor recreation industry,” explained Dr Kalumanga while delivering his presentation on Habitat Connectivity In Wildlife Management before Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) members.

Before Covid- 19 dealt the tourism sector a heavy blow, around 33,151 tourists visited Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA), creating fortunes to residents and communities residing along the Kwakuchinja corridor, according to Dr Kalumanga.

He further revealed that wildlife corridors have a number of social importances such as beekeeping, fishing and livestock keeping. He noted that protecting ecosystems and critical habitats will see wildlife corridors presenting an opportunity to recover and stimulate local economies.

In the same vein, the expert appealed to communities living along the corridors to ensure that such areas are highly protected for not only socio-economic, but also ecological reasons.

“There are high chances of wild animals failing to multiply and cross breed should they get confined to one ecological area,” he warned.

Last year, the government rolled out plans of securing wildlife corridors that have been extensively blocked countrywide, leading to wild animals killing, injuring people and destroying properties and crops.

Speaking earlier, an RTI Monitoring and Evaluation Manager implementing Tuhifadhi Maliasili project John Noronha said Tanzania was home to more than 50 wildlife corridors. Mr Noronha added that a great deal of documented corridors in the country are either in a critical condition, or have already been destroyed, thanks to increased human activities.

Implemented to the tune of 30.5 million US dollars, the five-year project aims to address threats to animal movement and biodiversity in Tanzania.

Over the past few decades, Tanzania is reported to have lost at least one-third of its ecosystems and the number of threatened species has tripled.

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