COLLECTIVE action taken by stakeholders in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem (TME) is paying off as poaching takes a downward trend.
Patrols, besides tackling poaching, is targeting other illegal activities in Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) such as illegal cattle keeping, destructive agriculture and cutting trees for charcoal and firewood.
Chem Chem Project Manager, Walter Pallangyo says his organisation supports wildlife conservation by providing stakeholders with fuel for vehicles during patrols, allowances for scouts as well as smart devices for spatial monitoring in the conserved area.
Burunge WMA is located in Tanzania's wildlife-rich northern tourist circuit and is close to both Tarangire and Manyara national parks. It is about 18km from the main gate of Tarangire National Park, 20km from Majimoto and Tarangire airstrips and less than 10km from the southern boundary of Lake Manyara National Park.
WMA is bisected by Arusha-Babati-Singida-Dodonia Highway.
It occupies land and migratory corridors between Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the adjacent Manyara ranch, making it an area of high conservational significance. The area is renowned for its large buffalos that move in and out of Tarangire. The presence of Lake Burunge in WMA attracts the migration of water birds such as greater and lesser flamingoes and a range of ducks and shore birds.
Chem Chem is an ancient migratory route for animals to freely move, a safari sanctuary where visitors can slow down to age-old rhythms. It is a community to help conserve and protect the wildlife.
Sangaiwe Village Chairman Mariani Mbere said conservation activities had benefitted villagers, saying the village got an average of 100m/- per year from investments in hotels that were within and outside the area.
Some of the hotels are Tarangire Simba Lodge and Sangaiwe Lodge. From the funds collected, the village has since constructed a dispensary, connected villagers to a pipe water system, constructed pre-primary school buildings and is out to put up a second primary school. With support from Tarangire National Park, the village is upgrading its roads.
He mentioned some of challenges they were facing as elephant invasion, as more than 400 villagers’ crops had been damaged, but also a person was recently killed. He was speaking during a field visit by journalists from the Journalists' Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) supported by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID).
The field visit was preceded by three-day training for 30 journalists across the country in biodiversity conservation reporting. Training built their capacity to communicate biodiversity conservation messages and raise public awareness and passion for reporting conservation issues.
USAID and JET support journalists by providing a five-month mentorship programme, field visits and story grants. The project was a success as it had helped to create public awareness on various issues