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Herd of 150 Tanzania elephants storm villages and destroy crops

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A herd of 150 elephants stormed into villages in northwest Tanzania, destroying 160 acres of food and cash crops, authorities confirmed Friday.

The elephants were strays from Serengeti National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as big as Northern Ireland.

Local media reports said villages most affected by the jumbos’ invasion were those in Itilima District, Simiyu Region.

According to the reports, for the past three days, the elephants were roaming around locals’ farms destroying crops such as maize, sorghum and cotton.

"I had three acres of maize, which have been destroyed by the elephants.

"I am not sure of what I am going to feed my family this year," complained Nila Delefa, a farmer in the area.

"I have never seen such large group of elephants in my life.

"Our efforts to scare them away failed as the wild animals were charging to us.

"So, everyone in the village ran away," Derefa said.

He said that the first group of elephants landed into the area on Wednesday.

Another villager Shigilu Mlashi described the destruction as ‘devastating’, as the situation is likely to pose security concerns.

Ndulu Mtegwa, ward councilor in the area, said that six villagers have been affected by the elephants’ invasion.

He described the situation as worrisome as people in the area have sleepless nights due to elephant invasion.

Benson Kilangi, Itilima District Commissioner, confirmed the incident.

"We’re aware of the new challenge and we’ve dispatched wildlife officers into the affected areas, to chase away the elephants to the national park," Kilangi said.


Tanzania in drive to replenish fish stock in Lake Tanganyika

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has embarked on a new project geared to replenish the dwindling fish stock in Lake Tanganyika—the world’s second deepest freshwater body, officials have said.

Aquaculture experts have already landed on the lake shores in western Tanzania’s district of Kalambo where they are planning to establish fish fingerling ponds.

Medadi Hosea, Tanzania’s fisheries officer on the shores of Lake Tanganyika said that the move is meant to restore the lost glory of fish stock in the lake which has more than 200 fish species.

The official said that the project came after discovering that fish stock in the lake has declined in the lake, which is being shared by Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.

"This situation is bad. Some of the fishermen have abandoned fishing gears and ventured into other economic activities as fish has plummeted in number," said Hosea.

Julith Binyura, Kalambo district Commissioner said that 60 percent of population along Lake Tanganyika shores depends on fishing for their livelihood.

"That’s why the government is putting much of its efforts in addressing the shocking situation."

Frank Schalos, Kalambo District’s Administrative Secretary also called upon the youth to establish groups of entrepreneurship so that government can provide loans through the groups as it cannot lend money to individuals.

A new study finds that a decrease in fishery production in one of the largest freshwater lakes on Earth is a consequence of human-caused climate change rather than just overfishing.

The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used sediment cores from the bottom of Lake Tanganyika in southeast Africa to create a 1,500-year record of temperature in the lake, as well as a record of animal fossil abundances over time.

The study found that as the temperature in the lake increased—with a substantial spike in the industrial period of the last 150 years—the abundance of fossil fish, mollusks, and other organisms decreased.

The decline in fish fossils began well before commercial fishing in the lake intensified in the mid-20th century, suggesting climate change is playing a substantial role in the lake’s decreased production.

The findings suggest that the effects of climate-related ecological change should be taken into account when determining catch limits and other sustainable management measures.

The study also raises concern about how other tropical freshwater lakes might be affected by warming climate.

Lake Tanganyika is the largest and oldest rift lake in Africa and one of the largest lakes on Earth.

At about 700 km long, 50 km wide and 1.5 km deep, it contains roughly 15 percent of all of the fresh water at the Earth’s surface.

It is also one of the most biologically diverse lakes on Earth.

It holds over 300 species of fish, many of which are endemic to Lake Tanganyika, as well as hundreds of endemic species of snails, shrimp, crabs and other crustaceans.

Tanzania launches fund to address environmental issues

DAR ES SALAAM (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania has launched the National Environmental Conservation Fund aimed at addressing environmental issues, including climate change which is sending shockwaves to the country.

January Makamba, the east African nation’s Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office responsible for Environment, said the fund has been in preparation for the past 12 years.

"The fund will focus on supporting organizations and activities related to environment conservation in ensuring there’s a mitigation of environmental problems affecting the country," said Makamba.

Makamba said since environment issues were being seriously addressed across the world, it was high time Tanzania formed a special fund dedicated to financing environmental issues.

He said the government, environment stakeholders and experts could work collectively toward an environmentally friendly Tanzania.

The new fund already has a board of sponsors led by the Chief Executive Officer of Infotech Investment Group Ally Mufuruki who was appointed recently by President John Magufuli.

Mufuruki said the fund will be using about 500,000 US dollars annually on its activities to ensure that the set targets were met and more efforts were done to conserve the environment.

Mufuruki said more efforts will be placed in creating intensive awareness to the public concerning environmental conservation as well as their role in preserving and being accountable for cleanness and their environment at large.

"The biggest challenge is that most people don’t know the extent in which they individually contribute to environment destruction, which makes it difficult to engage them in conservation activities," he said.

Tanzanian president appoints new Chief of Defence Force

DAR ES SALAAM (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Commander-In-Chief of Armed Forces, President John Magufuli on Thursday appointed General Venance Mabeyo the east African nation’s new Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).

A terse statement by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam said Mabeyo replaced outgoing CDF General Davis Mwamunyange.

Before the new appointment Magufuli promoted Mabeyo from Lieutenant General to General, said the statement.

The statement said Mabeyo replaced Mwamunyange after the latter has reached his statutory retirement.

At the same time, President Magufuli appointed Lieutenant General James Mwakibolwa new Chief of Staff of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF).



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