Tanzania news, views and interesting items brought to you by TaZnews.
- Editorial: Tanzania conservation today
- Ngorongoro entry fees brought into line
- Tanzania’s unique volcano erupts
- Ngorongoro ‘white elephant’ bus
- Is it farewell to the eternal snows on the equator?
- Permanent tented camps destined for Serengeti National Park
- Wireless transmission reaches Tanzania
- Power ‘Pain’ Continues
- Putting environment into the classroom
- Fish Census: A major ‘stock take’
- Tanzania’s democratic pride
- Air transport investment for Tanzania
Editorial: Tanzania's conservation today
A national park is understood as a symbol within society for a place that has been set aside for the purpose of preserving and protecting. There are dimensions of geography, biology, and economics. There are benefits and costs and often a created stand off between park and people.
The earliest National Parks were set up to protect nature and wildlife. Human settlement was prohibited in the parks with the belief that people and parks could not exist side by side. Only designated park custodians had the privilege of living within the boundaries, hunting was species limited by quotas and permits and visitors were welcomed only under certain restrictions. This was the model for Tanzania national parks also.
Today, the benefits of Tanzania’s national parks are arguably enjoyed by affluent and distant people ‘on safari’ at the expense of the disempowered people who exist in close proximity to the national park boundary.
Nature conservation anywhere in the world is complicated by growing human populations and competition for limited natural resources. Human V wildlife conflict is a fact. The biggest challenge is balancing the protection of natural resources with tangible benefits for people whose lives depend on the existence of the wildlife. These people need to benefit from this resource in return for caring for it. Tanzanian government is evolving towards embracing this model.
The people living in Northern Tanzanian areas surrounding designated national parks play a part in either destroying or protecting migration routes, corridors and dispersal areas that make up the larger eco-system of which the parks are part. The positive force for protection will hold true as long as they (mostly Maasai) practice traditional pastoral lifestyles. They can make or break the nearby national parks. They therefore need to be closely involved as important stakeholders.
The foundations for the laws governing conservation practice of Tanzania came from Colonial times and were inherited at independence in 1961. These laws have not changed much. There appear to be no easy answers but the increase in tourism outside Tanzania’s national parks and game reserves do point a way towards a more equitable sharing of the benefits accruing from wildlife. Unfortunately, out of date and conflicting laws do little to help a situation that demands courageous action and a bold new approach to conservation outside the national parks.
To join the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (Arusha) branch. Contact Cosmas Nguya Executive officer e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspired by an article in the Arusha Times.
Ngorongoro entry fees brought into line
After much debate, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) is standing firm that its entry fee increase will come into effect January 1st 2007 instead of July (as previously proposed). The increase will bring the entry fees in line with Serengeti. Other NCAA fees will remain at current tariffs until July.
Tanzania's unique volcano erupts
Several news sources, including CNN, reported a major eruption at Lengai in March 2006 with evacuations from several villages. News media and locals reported contradictory information; explosions of rock and ash, a smoke column followed by a very large lava flow down the west flank of Lengai to its base, no explosions or ash. Reports eventually substantiated that there was no explosive activity only very large eruption of lava. Observations have since confirmed a collapse of ~ 8000 m2 of the central crater floor.
A member of the geological survey of Israel, and a Tanzanian geologist, visited the crater in Aug 2006 and took photos which indicated no significant changes in the crater since 8 August 2006. There are no fresh lava flows visible and there has been no growth of the collapse zone.
Source: Volcano discovery
The climbing of Oldonyo L’engai continues as one of Tanzania’s major tourist activities.
Ngorongoro 'white elephant' bus graounded
The 'Ngorongoro crater bus' which was bought in 2002 to take local 'tourists' for trips into the crater, has proved to be a 'white elephant'. The scribes tour was to promote an affordable opportunity for local Tanzanians to visit the world's largest, unbroken volcanic caldera. For the price of Tsh. 20, 000, Tanzanians could hop on the bus for a return trip to Ngorongoro conservation area and into the crater. The actual numbers of people using the bus service to visit the crater was unavailable but sources say it was not popular. The bus is now grounded.
NCAA records reveal that domestic tourists are mainly Workshops and Seminar delegates, school pupils, students and other officially organized groups, who normally visit the area using hired vehicles, plus some individual who drive into the crater in their own cars.
Ngorongoro was declared world conservation area in 1959. Twenty years later in 1979 UNESCO named the precinct 'World Heritage Site' and recently the crater, which is sixth largest in the world but takes the first position when it comes to the world's unbroken calderas, was again tagged to be the 'Eighth wonder of the world!'
Source: Arusha Times.
Is it farewell to the snows of Africa?
East Africa's snow-capped mountains may be just a dozen years from losing their snow crowns.
Scientists are divided on exactly what is causing the decline of the glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and the Rwenzori. Global warming, reduced levels of annual precipitation, the decline of the ozone layer and the earth's natural cycles have all been cited as possible causes. What is not in dispute, however, is that that East Africans will pay a heavy price if the unfolding scenario reaches its logical conclusion.
The snows of the three mountains act as crucial all-year reservoirs for water irrigation of millions of hectares downstream, helping to generate hydroelectricity, water the region's world-famous game parks and agricultural lands as well as serve as sources of water for human use.
In an ironic twist of fate, all three East African countries will be affected, with the Rwenzori being mainly in Uganda, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Kenya in Kenya. The impact of the recession of the glaciers on the Rwenzori, the Mountains of the Moon, will however go beyond East Africa. Rivers originating there form the headwaters of the Nile. In 2002, a survey predicted that the iconic snowcap of Mt Kilimanjaro would disappear by 2020, leaving Africa's highest peak a nude rock. Similarly, scientists say that the demise of Mt Kenya's famous glaciers is just a matter of time given the rate of their rapid decline. Alpine ecosystem and forests that surround the mountains will also decline.
What is particularly worrying, scientists say, is that the rate of decline of East Africa's mountain glaciers seems to be picking up.
The mystique of the mountains have inspired both local people and foreign visitors, a fascination that has spawned the region's lucrative tourism industry, which is currently second only to South Africa's.
Permanent tented camps destined for Serengeti national park
A major South African tour company has won a concession to set up five star 30-bed permanent tented camps within Serengeti National Park. The investment will develop an area in the northern region of the park close to Mara River. The camp will target high-end tourists and because of its size and exclusivity, will attract limited numbers of visitors.
In January, 2006, Tanapa invited bidders to invest in the construction of tented camps at the Serengeti and Katavi National Parks. Four camps with a total of 120 beds are destined to be built in Serengati and two camps with a total of 24 beds at Katavi National Park.
The Serengeti is the only place on earth where great herds of animals mainly herds of buffaloes and deer - over 1.9 million - still follow their ancient migratory routes. This migration is the defining characteristic of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.
In addition to supporting the world's largest migratory herds, the park has the world's highest concentration of predators, which at last count included 7,500 hyenas and 2,800 lions.
There are also some 500 bird species that are permanently or seasonally present.
Wireless transmission reaches Tanzania
Vodacom Tanzania Limited has awarded a major new radio transmission equipment contract to UK’s Cambridge Broadband Limited.
The VectaStar wireless transmission equipment will be in commercial operation before the end of 2006. The network will cover the areas of Dar Es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Mwanza.
Vodacom launched network operations in August 2000 and became the largest mobile communications network operator in Tanzania within one year of launching. They offer are Vodago (prepaid), Vodachoice (contract) and Vodatariffa, an SMS based information service and the people's phone "Adondo". Customers are served in two languages, namely Kiswahili and English.
Power 'pain' continues
Tanzania recently greeted President Jakaya Kikwete's first cabinet reshuffle with the hope that a new energy minister will tackle the crippling power situation.
Since early September power shedding has become the norm in all regions of Tanzania. Diesel expenditure has increased as a result of running generators.
The government is committed to looking for alternative sources of power, including engaging foreign firms to install power generation plants, and connecting the country's national grid to the Southern African Power Pool to guarantee power from Southern Africa states such as Mozambique and Zambia. Solar power is also supported. A lasting solution is still to be found.
Source: Arusha Times.
Putting environment into the classroom
The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST), Arusha Branch, is leading an initiative to put environmental education into practice by introducing environmental education into teacher training. A valuing of natural resources will be emphasised.
It is considered that a resource-valuing ethos is critical to Tanzania's emphasis on rural education. Starting at the Primary & Secondary School level, environmental education should bear high returns by training primary school students and adults in land use practices that conserve resources. It would also encourage them to address in their daily decisions the interconnections between human, plant, and animal life on which our future depends.
Tanzania is attempting to encourage a resource-valuing attitude within education that reaches much further than simply preserving wildlife or planting trees. It is the careful consideration of the renewability of soil, air, water, and biological resources when making decisions on resource development and use. This includes placing a high value on future benefits from the resource base and carefully weighing un-priced with priced benefits from resource use.
Source: Arusha Times.
Fish census: A major 'stock-take'
Tanzania has started a census of fish population. Tanzania and Zanzibar Indian Ocean coast line covers 1,424 kilometres. The Tsh120 million project will run for a period of two years. A fish census is supposed to be carried out after every five years to scientifically calculate the marine stock. The last census was carried out about 20 years ago. Fish experts are worried that sea fish stocks in the country waters have dropped drastically in the last two-decades.
The project is part of the six year Marine and Costal Environment Management Project (MACEMP) aimed at improving the lives of coastal people by 80%.
Tanzania's democratic pride
Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kikwete commended the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative in Tanzania (Eugene Owusu) for assuring the international community, that Tanzania will maintain the path of multiparty democracy. Donor countries were inspired by the commitment of the government in securing and expanding democratic achievements by strengthening the Parliament, National Election Commission (NEC) and Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC). Tanzania’s president has pledged to be guided by good governance, transparency and accountability.
Air transport investment for Tanzania
Tanzania plans to invest US$313 million in air transport infrastructure in the next 10 years. The investment is meant to upgrade the existing facilities to meet international standards. Tanzania has 24 airports Two are international airports JNIA and Kilimanjaro Airport, while four others, Arusha, Mwanza, Dodoma and Mtwara are local terminals. The project, expected to be concluded in 2011, is anticipated to generate revenue, create jobs and spur the country's economic growth.
Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) is earmarked for rehabilitation thanks to a grant from the Netherlands government. Netherlands ambassador Mr. Karel Van Kesteren said Dar es Salaam as an international gateway will benefit from tourism, export and import trade.
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