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Herd of 17 elephant storm into three western Tanzania villages

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A herd of 17 elephants stormed into three western Tanzania's villages, wreaking havoc in the area as the wild animals destroyed crops and houses, authorities have confirmed.

The villages affected with the animal attacks are located close to Lwafi game reserve and Katavi National Park in western Tanzania's district of Kalambo.

Innocent Lungwa, the Kisumba ward councilor, told Xinhua in a telephone interview that the attacks have made people in the area living in fear.

"People are worried of elephants and worse enough they are going to harvest nothing in their farms because their crops have been destroyed," the local leader said.

Lungwa said the animals have stormed into the area since May 18, this year at night when most of people were sleep destroying people's farms and properties.

"The next day people were in fear upon seeing the elephants loitering around the three villages," he said, adding that no death was reported.

He added that the elephants are still on the village, saying: "these animals are very dangerous to people's lives because last year the elephants did the same and killed a man who was taking their photographs."

Willman Ndile, the District Commissioner for Kalambom, said that game rangers have been sent to search for the animals to return them to the sanctuaries before they bring more harm to the people.

He called for the people to get out of the wildlife corridors, saying:

"Even if the animals may cease to use the route, history has shown that the animals may return even after 50 years."

He said there was no need of enormity with the animals and the best thing was for the people to stop conducting their farming activities in the wildlife corridors as the move endangers their lives.

"We haven't yet carried assessment on the cost caused by the elephant attacks," he added.


Tanzanian wildlife conservator arrested over ivory deal

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A senior wildlife conservator with Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) has been arrested with one piece of elephant tusk in northern region of Arusha, authorities have said.

Tanapa's spokesperson, Pascal Shelutete said in a statement that the experienced wildlife conservator, Genes Shayo, 60, was arrested by Tanapa's anti-poaching special task force on May 16, this year, in Arumeru District.

Shelutete said that the country's wildlife watchdog received information that a person identified as Emmanuel Nassari, a resident of Ngarenanyuki in Arumeru District, owned ivory for which he was searching customers.

Nassari is a pastor at one of the Arusha-based churches under the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG).

It stated that after receiving the information, Tanapa consulted the national anti-poaching special task force for investigation.

According to Shelutete, the task force succeeded to arrest pastor Nassari on May 15, this year, and after interrogations he admitted to have the ivory at his home.

He told the police that he was able to acquire the ivory through collaboration with Tanapa senior conservator, Genes Shayo.

Nassari insisted that Shayo was aware of the ivory, a situation that forced police to arrest the conservator on May 16, this year, for interrogation.

The Tanzania National Parks has appealed to the public to continue cooperating with the authority by providing it with information on poaching.

Shelutete said that Tanapa would continue to take actions against anyone, including its staff, who would be found to be engaged in poaching activities.

The arrest of the conservator came at the time when the country's wildlife watchdog is transforming itself into paramilitary to scale up anti-poaching battle.

Tanapa is in charge of taking care of Tanzania's national parks.

Tanzania has emerged as the epicentre of Africa's elephant poaching crisis after a government census revealed it had lost a "catastrophic" 60 percent of its elephants in just five years.

The results pile pressure on Tanzania's government that has been heavily criticized for its inability to stop a flood of poached ivory being stripped from its national parks.

Tanzania's elephant population is one of the continent's largest. But data released last year by the Tanzania showed that between 2009 and 2014 the number dropped from 109,051 to 43,330.

When an annual birth rate of 5 percent is taken into account the number of dead is 85,181.

Dozen feared dead in Tanzania Lake Nyasa boat accident

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people are feared dead after a boat that was sailing from Mbamba Bay in Tanzania to Nkhata Bay in Malawi sunk on Lake Nyasa, authorities said Monday.

Senior Tanzanian official in charge of fisheries in Lake Nyasa, Godfray Salaka said the incident occurred in the dawn hours of Saturday, when a Tanzanian MV Mapeza was sailing from Mbamba Bay to Nkhata Bay but the passengers last talked to people from Nkhata Bay at around 3 a.m. local time.

Salaka said: "Soon after receiving the information we informed security organs in Nyasa District, who sent a boat into the scene, but until now nobody has been retrieved."

The official said the accident happened in an area which 15 km to the Malawian side.

"But our rescue team was in the site working with the team from Malawi. Until now, the rescue team managed to find the capsized boat, though nobody has been found," the official said.

Lake Nyasa is being shared by Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

It is the third largest in Africa (after Lake Victoria and lake Tanganyika) with 550 km length and 75 km width, covering an area of more than 11,400 square km. In some parts, the lake is as deep as 700 meters.

Lake Nyasa is also among the Great Rift Valley's lakes, which shares some of the characteristics with lake Tanganyika.

The lake has a distinctive characteristic: 14 rivers pouring their waters into the lake, and only one river which flows out to the sea, River Shire.



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