Two rhinoceros are seen in the Chobe National Park, northern Botswana, March. 24, 2015. The Kasane Conference on The Illegal Wildlife Trade was held on Tuesday in Kasane, the gateway to the Chobe National Park, with delegations from 35 countries and around 20 international organizations. (Xinhua/Lu Tianran)(azp)
Two rhinoceros are seen in the Chobe National Park, northern Botswana, March. 24, 2015. The Kasane Conference on The Illegal Wildlife Trade was held on Tuesday in Kasane, the gateway to the Chobe National Park, with delegations from 35 countries and around 20 international organizations. (Xinhua/Lu Tianran)(azp)

Northern Tanzania’s conservationists have embarked on a family planning education program to address rapid population growth for people living outside the Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Secretary of the Burunge WMA OLaisy Olekoine said on Sunday that uncontrolled population growth becomes the new threat towards managing the resource-rich wildlife sanctuary.

Formed by ten villages, the 12-year-old WMA is located in Tanzania’s wildlife-rich northern tourist circuit and is very close to both Tarangire and Manyara National Parks. It is an important migratory corridor between Tarangire and Lake Manyara, particularly for elephant, buffalo, zebra and wildebeest, which regularly move between the two areas.

Being one of 38 Tanzania’s WMAs, Buringe is bisected by the Arusha-Babati-Singida-Dodoma highway.

“When we started, our attention was on how to manage the wildlife resources as well as phasing out poaching, and we managed as the number of wildlife in the area remained stable, but the challenge now is population pressure,” the official said.

He said that the increasing population pressure is fueling wanton tree felling in the protected area as people need source of energy.

“Some people cut down trees for charcoal, firewood and some for farming…these are the related challenges,” Olekoine said, adding that there are some of the villages, which are members of the WMA, have started threatening to decamp from the conservation initiatives.

“We have teamed up with the Babati District authorities in implementing the family planning training program, whereby men and women are being informed on family planning related issues,” said Said Ramadhani, spokesperson of the WMA.

“To us, this acts as a measure towards addressing the increasing population in the area. Our efforts are to ensure that we put in place sustainable conservation strategies and this is part of fulfilling that for the survival of the WMA,” Ramadhani said, adding that people around the conservancy have been responding well to the program.

Chrispin Meela, the Babati District Commissioner, commended the WMA for conservation efforts.

“This is one of the best community-owned wildlife management areas in Tanzania. They have been complementing government’s anti-poaching drive. But, more needs to be done for the wildlife resources to remain as it is for current and future generations,” said Meela.

“It is the task of conservationists in the WMA to come up with the best approach that will ensure that people around it benefit out of conservation,” he suggested.

Burunge WMA collects more than one million U.S. dollars annually from tourism activities, which are spent by implementing communities’ developmental projects.

Burunge WMA occupies the land and the migratory corridors between Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the adjacent Manyara ranch, making it an area of high conservational significance.

Currently, the area is widely known for its large buffalo population that moves in and out of Tarangire. The presence of Lake Burunge in the WMA attracts the migration of water birds such as greater and lesser flamingos and a range of ducks and shore birds. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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