Tanzania news, views and interesting items brought to you by TaZnews.
This issue: Updated April 2007
- Tanzania’s haven for endangered species
- Making rain for Tanzania
- Recycling books for Tanzania
- Water help from 'down under'
- Tourism promotion to increase momentum
- Nile Perch good for the heart
- Gates’ boost to anti-malaria war
- Viral Fever Alert
- Tanzania refugee camps - some to close
- Ngorongoro price increase postponed until June
Tanzania's haven for endangered species
THE Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania are only half the height of their famous neighbor, Mount Kilimanjaro (5889 meters) but in terms of biodiversity. The forest covered slopes contain the highest density of endangered animals anywhere on earth.
So far, researchers have identified 96 endemic species of vertebrates in the Eastern Arc Mountains, including sunbirds, chameleons and the wide-eyed primates called bush babies.
Many insects are also endemic, including 43 species of butterflies. Some of the most popular house plants in the world come from its forests, including African violets, and the mountains are home to at least 800 other endemic species of plants.
Only a few places on earth, including New Zealand and Madagascar, have comparable densities of endangered endemic species. Scientists call them biodiversity hot spots.
Geography plays a big role in the making of a hot spot. The Eastern Arc has been around for 30 million years and forests probably survived for all of this time.
Lineages that became extinct elsewhere in East Africa have been able to survive in the Eastern Arc. Studies of the DNA of birds and primates reveal that many species belong to ancient lineages. In some cases, their closest living relatives are found hundreds or thousands of miles away. As the old lineages endure, new species also evolve.
The diversity of the Eastern Arc is all the more impressive because 70 per cent of the original forest cover is gone due to agriculture, logging and hunting. Many of the remaining species are endangered, including 71 of the 96 known endemic vertebrates.
The destruction of the forests may prove harmful to Tanzania's economy as well. The rivers that flow from the mountains power the dams that supply half the nation's energy. Deforestation may make the water supply less reliable during dry months. The Tanzanian Government and conservation organizations’ are working on ways to preserve the remaining forests.
With money from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, scientists are continuing to explore the Eastern Arc forests in search of new species — and are finding them. While many are small amphibians and reptiles, some are surprisingly big.
In 2005, for example, scientists discovered a new species of monkey, a slender, tree-dwelling primate called the kipunji. At first it appeared to belong to a group of monkeys called mangabeys. But last year scientists studying its DNA were surprised to discover that it was not a mangabey at all; its closest kin are actually baboons.
Source: New York Times
Making rain for Tanzania
Last years low rain fall caused crop failure, cattle death and chronically disrupted the power supply. A novel solution may help to avoid repetition in 2007.
Thai media have reported that Tanzania is to import rain-making technology from the king of Thailand. The patented cloud-seeding technique involves aircraft releasing a chemical into clouds to induce rainfall.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej's technique involves using two aircraft to seed warm and cold clouds at different altitudes.
Recycling books for Tanzania
An organization based in Liverpool (UK) is working hard to collect books and other equipment to re-distribute in Tanzania where educational resources are scarce.
The Tanzania syllabus mirrors the British ‘O’ and ‘A’ level system and in secondary schools is taught in English. Efforts to collect defunct books by the Tanzanian Book Appeal at John Moores University will help to bridge the gap. At the same time Merseyside children will be learning about Tanzania.
Donated books are in the process of being sorted and packed up and will be shipped off to Tanzania this summer. The students from John Moores who have worked on the project will then fly out to meet the books and tour some of the destination schools in Kagera region (near Lake Victoria).
Water help from 'down under'
The Government and people of Australia are to provide water for two Community Schools at Nshupu in the Usa River, Arumeru district, 26 kilometers from Arusha.
The Australian High Commissioner for East Africa, His Excellency Mr. George Atkin has arranged funding for a Hydraulic Ram pump and fittings which will deliver water to the schools from a spring more than one kilometre away. The project is planned for completion within two months.
The project was initiated and is coordinated by Adopt a School and the Earth Assistance Foundation which is to support the Nshupu Schools with all its needs over a five year period.
Adopt a School has initiated projects at eleven other Community Schools in the Arusha region whereby it plans to bring all facilities and the academic skills of the students and teachers to a high standard within five years.
The project has received enthusiastic cooperation from all levels of the community and education and water authorities.
Part of the funding for the project is from a Dutch foundation that has chosen to remain anonymous.
Source: Arusha Times
Tourism promotion to increase momentum
A government initiated tourism promotion campaign hopes to increase tourism earnings from 700m US dollars (about 900bn/-) to 3bn US dollars (about 4 tr/) each year over the next three years.
The campaign will involve advertising the country’s tourism potentials on the American TV channels CNN and CNBC and also making sure there are direct flights to Tanzania from the US and Europe.
Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof. Jumanne Maghembe is leading a six-man delegation to the US for a ten-day official visit where he would hold talks with CNN, CNBC and Delta Airlines top officials
He said that the government intends to spend 500m/- in the first six months to advertise on CNN and CNBC with an intention of targeting the US and Canada markets.
The tourism promotion drive is being carried out simultaneously with a hotel expansion programme in order to cope with the anticipated increase of tourists from the current 612,000 a year to one million by 2010.
Source: Daily News
Nile perch good for the heart
Research findings have revealed that Nile Perch have huge Omega 3 elements which reduce the risk of heart diseases in human beings. The news should be good for the lucrative Nile perch industry that in recent years has been facing two major challenges on the global market - stiff competition from cheap Bassa fish found in Vietnam and the sharp decline of perch population in Lake Victoria.
According to a report by Stefano Boserman of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the huge Omega 3 elements found in Nile perch fillets give a better future to the specie on the European Markets.Source: The Citizen
Gates boosts anti-malaria war
THE REGIONAL MALARIA RESEARCH Institute - African Malaria Network Trust (Amanet) - has received $4.1 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to do more research on the tropical killer disease. The funding will also be used for building institutional capacity in health research ethics (HRE) across sub-Saharan Africa.
The funding is geared towards creating ethical awareness and improving the ethical review process among African health researchers and members of institutional ethics review committees, the project will go a long way in protecting the rights and wellbeing of research participants, especially of highly vulnerable groups and individuals.
Amanet, a pan-African, non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Dar es Salaam, was started in 1995 as the African Malaria Vaccine Testing Network with the primary goal of preparing Africa in planning and conducting malaria vaccine trials.Source: The East African
Viral fever alert
Rift Valley Fever (RVF), a deadly viral disease that broke out in Kenya in late 2006, has spread to neighbouring Tanzania, where two deaths have been reported in the northern region of Arusha.
The RVF virus can be transmitted by mosquitoes or through contact with infected animal material such as blood or other body fluids or organs.
Residents of Arusha region have been urged to be careful with food, especially beef, raw milk and game meat and to use mosquito nets as the disease could be spread by the Aedes mosquito.
Symptoms in humans include bleeding through the nose and mouth, and liver failure.
Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
Tanzania's refugee camps - some to close
The United Nations refugee agency plans to close three camps in Tanzania by the middle of this year. The security situation across Africa's Great Lakes region continues to improve leading to dwindling numbers of refugees.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) about 287,000 people now live in refugee camps across Tanzania, the lowest total since 1996 and down from more than 500,000 just four years ago. These figures do not include refugees living outside camps.
The sharp reduction in official refugee levels is a result of large-scale voluntary repatriation programmes to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which are both rebuilding after years of brutal civil war.
Refugees living in the camps that will be closed will either be repatriated or relocated to other camps inside Tanzania.Source: UN News Service
Price increase postponed
The proposed entry fee increase for Ngorongoro Crater has been postponed until June 2007. The increase will bring the charges in line with Serengeti National Park.
Designed by Oraica Ltd. www.oraica.net