All the 16 national parks in the country will be remapped and their boundaries signified with beacons by January 31.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Professor Jumanne Maghembe, announced the decision while inaugurating the new Board of Trustees of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), explaining that he had already issued the directives to relevant authorities regarding the game parks’ markings.
“Our country is facing a new type of poaching - and this is the latest wave of people driving livestock into conservation areas, annexing parts of game parks and reserves for agriculture and illegal harvesting of firewood, logs and trees from forests,” said Prof Maghembe.
He added that it was high time the parks, game and forest reserves had their boundaries clearly marked to avert conflicts. Tanzania has a total of 16 national parks, more than 20 game and marine reserves plus a number of conserved forests.
Together they form 37 per cent of the total area of the country’s land, which is under protection. The country boasts nearly one million square kilometres of territorial land.
The new TANAPA board is headed by Retired Chief of Defence Forces, General George Waitara, a presidential appointee, who during his acceptance speech admitted that challenges that face TANAPA include illegal wildlife hunting or poaching.
“We are also facing land and territorial conflicts between conserved areas and surrounding villages whose residents need land for farming, grazing, housing and even mining,” said the board chairman.
On his part, TANAPA Director General, Dr Allan Kijazi, said maintaining the pristine condition of all the 16 national parks was a major undertaking, considering that only a few generated their own income, which means revenues from other parks have to be distributed to others.
Attracting over 350,000 tourists per annum on average, Serengeti, home to the legendary wildebeest migration, leads the pack, commanding more visitors. And when it comes to raising income, Kilimanjaro National Parks with an annual 80 billion/- income tops the bill.