Bagamoyo. One person is killed by a wild animal every 52 hours, while 16 acres of food crops are destroyed, a new report says.
The 2020/24 Report of National- Human-Wildlife Conflict Management Strategy, reflects the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism statistics released between 2012 and 2019.
The statistics show that conflicts between villagers and wildlife claimed 1,069 lives and destroyed 41,404 hectares of crops. Furthermore, the figures show that 792 wild animals were killed during the period. The government compensated the relatives of the victims and the farms that were destroyed with Sh4.6 billion.
Data shows that the number of wildlife killed increased from 130 in 2017 to 149 in 2018 and 203 in 2019 respectively. The destruction of food crops doubled to 10,547 acres in 2019 from 5,016 acres recorded in 2018.
Conflicts in the natural resources sector will be solved only if citizens have reliable economic opportunities along the wildlife’s regular paths (shoroba).
Also, there should be a plan for the best use of regional land management by incorporating villagers and the private sector.
Success could also be recorded through increased education on the benefits of natural resource preservation and the adoption of human life-saving techniques.
This includes access to cooking energy, fruits, traditional medicines, and the free pollination of plants and crops in the agricultural sector.
“Shoroba” is a path that connects wild animals from one reserve to another during their search for food, water, shelter, a safe environment and reproduction.
“Village land covers up to more than 70 per cent of all land that has been legally annexed. That is where over 90 per cent of all the 61 paths are located. We are making efforts to end these conflicts,” said Landscape Planning and biodiversity specialist- USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili, Mr Joseph Olila.
Mr Olila was speaking during the launch of the second phase of the Let’s Conserve Natural Resources project, which trains journalists to create content that will change society’s perception of the importance of preserving natural resources in the country.
The project funded by the USAID in cooperation with the Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET), involves seven wild animal paths. They include Ruaha-Rungwa-Katavi; Amani-Nilo; Kwakuchinja; Ruaha-Rungwa –Inyonga; Mlima Mahale-Katavi and Kigosi-Moyowosi-Burigi.
“If villagers set up centres in buffer zones, they will make money without destroying natural resources,” said Dr Elikana Ngallaba, the project’s manager for Private Sector Involvement.
He said the paths are also beneficial for human life as agriculture depends on the pollination of crops by insects, we get honey from bees…this does not include the costs of production.