Farmers and cattle herders who invaded the vast wildlife corridor linking the Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara ecosystem have been ordered to vacate the area or face forcible removal in the next two weeks Babati District Commissioner (DC), Engineer Raymond Mushi, has announced that it’s now more than a year since the trespassers were ordered to vacate the area but they do not seem to care.
“Those are important wildlife and natural resource conservation areas … and the only way to save both Tarangire and Lake Manyara parks is to let the wild savannah revert to its natural settings,” said Engineer Mushi.
At least 18 families belonging to the Barbaig pastoralists live within the wildlife corridor as well as hundreds of illegal fishermen who have been scooping fish from Lake Manyara which is essentially a conserved lake and backbone of the corresponding park.
An expert in animal and plant conservation, Mr Lucas Ole-Mukusi, said the presence of unaccounted people was fuelling cases of poaching, illegal logging of trees and destruction of the lake environment. “… and that’s not to mention the fact that people are being attacked by wild animals when the beasts cross back-and-forth between Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks,” said Ole-Mukusi, adding that proper land use would follow after humans leave the area.
Ole-Mukusi, who is also the ruling party’s charman for Manyara Region, argued that there’s need to save the Tarangire ecosystem, which is home to Northern Zone’s breeding area for elephants as well as ensuring that Lake Manyara environment, another breeding spot for the rare pink flamingos, were maintained.
The chairman of Vilima-Vitatu Village, Mr Erasto Belela, said already the government has set aside more than 500 acres for the nomadic Barbaig once they vacate the Tarangire-Manyara corridor.
“But the Barbaig have refused to leave this area … they claim the alternative land given to them is not adequate for them and their cattle … and that it’s not as fertile as the Vilima-Vitatu location,” the village chairman said.