Tanzania: Herds of Rampaging Elephants On Increase in Serengeti Villages


By Mugini Jacob, Tanzania Daily News

Date Published
Mara — RAMPAGING elephants invading dozens of rural villages in Serengeti District are reportedly increasing at an alarming rate with Serengeti District Council calling for help from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

The Acting Chairman of Serengeti District Council, Mr Jumanne Kwiro, said the stray elephants have plunged many families into hunger after causing massive destruction on crop farms in the villages.

“Elephants invading our villages are many, there is also acute hunger in the villages”, Mr Kwiro told the ‘Daily News’.

Mr Kwiro who is the councillor for Natta ward that has thousands of smallscale farmers prone to stray jumbos in the district appealed for immediate interventions from Minister of Natural Resource and Tourism Mr Lazaro Nyarandu.

He cited lack of vehicles and critical shortage of game officers faced by the council as the major obstacles impeding them from chasing the stray elephants away.

“We need at least one vehicle or two vehicles. The council does not have even a single vehicle to help few officers in returning the elephants”. “We are asking the ministry to consider compensating families who have been affected by elephants.

There are people who have been killed by elephants but we have never seen any compensation since 2006″, the civic leader said. Serengeti officials say around 27 rural villages with thousands of people relying on subsistence farming and livestock keeping are prone to frequent destruction caused by stray jumbos.

The jumbos are usually seen in small groups originating from Ikorogo/ Grumeti Games Reserves and the Serengeti National Park. It is estimated that more than 75 per cent of the Serengeti District land is occupied by game protected areas including the world famous park.

The menace caused by stray elephants remains to be the biggest challenge facing villagers living near the country’s game protected areas. It is also cited to be the source of food insecurity and underdevelopment in the villages. A few months ago, the Serengeti District Council proposed erecting a wire fence as lasting solution that would prevent elephants from migrating from their habitats into people’s farming areas.

The idea was proposed at full council meeting where the Serengeti District Council Chairman, Mr John Ng’oina, gave an example of the South African Kruger Park which he said is fenced and wanted a similar fence to separate them from wild animals especially elephants.

But the idea was widely opposed by key conservation stakeholders, saying the move would kill the Serengeti ecosystem. Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) termed the idea to erect a fence as a dangerous move against the great annual migration of wildebeest.

With its headquarters in Germany, FZS is seen as one of the biggest players injecting a huge monetary support to conservation activities in Tanzania with the Serengeti eco-system getting top priority for many years.

Some experts within the wildlife sector are calling for immediate introduction of land use plans in the villages around game protected areas so as to cut human/ wildlife conflicts.

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