- Published on Wednesday, 04 September 2013 02:16
- Written by MARC NKWAME in Arusha
- Hits: 1025
PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has officially endorsed the upgrading of the former Saa-Nane Island Game Reserve in Mwanza Region to become a fully-fledged National Park.
A statement from the Arusha-based Tanzania National Parks has revealed that, Saa-Nane Island which floats on Lake Victoria becomes the 16th National park in the country but the first which will be located within a city.
“The president, through the Government Notice GN-227 has declared Saa-Nane, as well as the two other small islets located next to the Island, has declared the former Game Reserve to effectively operate as National Park,” the Public Relations Manager for TANAPA, Mr Paschal Shelutete said.
Measuring just 2.2 square kilometres, the lush-green and rock dotted island sets record as the country’s smallest national park. Ruaha in Iringa Region tops the bill as being the largest.
Saa-Nane, on the other hand, is now the second national park in East Africa to be mapped within a city, after the Nairobi National Park of Kenya.
The Tanzania National Parks now plans to effectively use Saa-Nane Island as the centre for Conservation and Wildlife Education because it is easily accessible park compared to the other remotely located game parks.
“Students and other personalities wanting to get a glimpse of how wildlife management is handled or those who simply want to have weekend gateways from Mwanza city will find Saa-Nane a proper destination,” stated Mr Shelutete.
“We are going to introduce other species of animals at Saa-Nane to boost the wildlife population,” added the TANAPA official.
The island was named after its previous owner, Mzee Saanane Chawandi, a fisherman turned farmer who was later shifted to another Island (after being compensated), to pave way for conservation efforts in the early 60s.
Saa-Nane started out in 1964 as the first ever government owned zoo (cages are still on the Island) before being upgraded into an official forest reserve in 1991, when it also assumed the role of wildlife acclimatisation zone.
It becomes the second National Park which floats on Lake Victoria after Rubondo Island and coincidentally, the wildlife on Rubondo previously stayed on Saa-Nane for acclimatisation before being ported to the other Island.
Ms Haika John Bayona is the current Acting Conservator of the Saa-Nane National Park, who explained that already the rocky island with breathtaking scenic settings, natural growth and marine attraction has been pulling in many residents from Mwanza and surrounding Lake Zone regions.
Saa-Nane Island National Park could be a role model to other game parks when it comes to promoting domestic tourism because even before becoming a fully-fledged entity, the island used to get an average of 250 visitors per month and between 180 and 200 of those were local Tanzanians coming mostly from Mwanza.
Saa-Nane Island is also going to be the smallest National Park in both Tanzania and East Africa, with the size of the main Island measuring 0.76 square kilometres comprising of both dry land and water.
This Island also commands a 200 metres perimetre of water South and 100 metres aquatic corridor in the north.
After being endorsed, Saa-Nane National Park now include two smaller islets the Chankende Kubwa and Chankende Ndogo located in the southern part of the main island into the bargain, thus increasing its protected area to 2.2 square kilometres including the water which surrounds them.
Meanwhile, MOSES MATTHEW reports from Mwanza that President Kikwete is expected to start an official tour of seven days in Mwanza Region from on Tuesday until Tuesday, next week.
Briefing reporters here yesterday, the Mwanza Regional Commissioner (RC), Eng. Evarist Ndikilo, said during the tour the president will inspect development projects and will officially launch energy projects under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Sengerema, Misungwi, Ilemela and Magu districts.
The RC hinted that the president would start his tour by attending the burial service of the former EAGT Bishop Moses Kulola at CCM Kirumba Stadium on Wednesday.
“The president is going to tour all districts in the region and I ask you to give him befitting press coverage,” said the RC.
Expounding further, he said that the launch of these projects would be done at Bukoka Village in Sengerema District where he would launch a power project of 30 megawatts, Mwanza commercial complex in Mwanza city and Gold Crest Hotel in Mwanza City.
Eng. Ndikilo noted that for the health sector, the president would launch Rugeye Health Centre building at Ukerewe and X-ray worth 62 mil/ at Misungwi Hospital.
Mr Kikwete would also launch Ntulya Primary School in Misungwi District. He will also lay a foundation stone for a three storey Magu District Council’s headquarters building at Ihungu area.
The president is also scheduled to launch two Police stations at Nyakato in Mwanza city and in Ngudu, Kwimba District and will also launch Katunguru water project and open up modern sports stadium at Malya, Kwimba District.