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Tanzania starts re-mapping and demarcating national parks 

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has started re-mapping and demarcating all key national parks, game and forest reserves with the planting of new beacons around the borderlines of the sanctuaries, a senior official said Sunday.

The move is meant to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, taking into accounts that some people have been encroaching into the protected areas for pastures, poaching and illegal logging.

“We are executing the directives from Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa who ordered that boundaries surrounding all national parks, game and forest reserves to be clearly identified and beaconed so as to avert future land conflicts and solve the existing territorial strife between conservationists and villages surrounding protected areas,” said Paschal Shelutete, Public Relations Manager for Tanzania National Parks.

He said the exercise would soon go national to cover 14 out of the 16 national parks, with the only exception being the Rubondo and Saa-Nane Islands’ National Parks.

Tanzania has set aside nearly 40 percent of the country’s area for conservation and the close to 400,000 square kilometers of protected land consists of 16 national parks, 25 game reserves and a number of forest reserves among others.

William Mwakilema, the Chief Conservator at Serengeti National Park, said the sanctuary, established in 1959 as the oldest in Tanzania, had its size and borderlines reviewed in 1968 and the ongoing demarcation is aimed at marking the already identified boundaries.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Serengeti National Park has been increasingly affected by human activities in recent years.



Swine fever outbreak hits western Tanzania

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The African swine fever (ASF) has broken out in the western Tanzania’s district of Kalambo District, killing nearly 200 pigs, an official said Sunday.

Julieth Binyura, Kalambo District Commissioner, confirmed the outbreak of the deadly disease, saying villagers had been informed on the viral disease.

The disease, which has a high mortality rate in pigs, has caused panic in the area where pig farming has been a booming business.

Binyura said her office had banned pork business as well as transportation of live pigs in the district to contain the disease in the area, which is part of Rukwa Region bordering Zambia and Lake Tanganyika on its western side.

“We’re now seizing all pigs, which are found roaming around streets as well as ensuring that all dead pigs are carefully buried,” said Wilbrod Kansapa, livestock officer in Kalambo District.

Kansapa added that nearly 200 pigs died since the outbreak of the disease early this month and local communities had been informed of the dangers of eating pork from the infected animal.

Pig farming is a booming business in regions located in western Tanzania presently due to the high demand for pork in major cities like Dar es Salaam.


Tanzania encourages farmers to raise more donkeys

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Authorities in central Tanzania have embarked on a campaign to encourage farmers to raise more donkeys to tap the Asian market.

Apart from meat, donkey skins are used to produce gelatin that is traded as a traditional medicine and beauty product in Asia nations like China.

In Tanzania, the number of working donkey is estimated at about 250,000.

“Time has come for Tanzanian farmers to view donkey as an economic venture, rather than viewing it as a working animal,” said Osumo Kipisi, a legal officer in charge of livestock in Tanzania’s capital Dodoma.

Kipisi said the local farmers, who have been concentrating on rearing cattle and goat, were not well prepared in the face of the rising demands of donkeys.

“Donkey meat was not something important in the past as people used to keep the animal for carrying cargoes and farming. But, now things have changed. Farmers need to start venturing into rearing the animals because the market is already there,” the official said.

He suggested the need for farmers to put in place better rearing environment that will increase the number of donkeys.

Reports show that a Dodoma-based donkey abattoir slaughters between 150 and 200 donkeys per day and exports meat to China and Turkey.

At the abattoir, the price can go up to 200 U.S. dollars per donkey.

Hidaya Maheda, acting Dodoma Municipal Director, said they were carrying out a serious campaign to encourage people to chip-in and rear more donkeys.

“Our role as authorities is show farmers opportunities. We’re encouraging farmers to look donkey into economic perspective rather than looking it as an ordinary animal,” Maheda said.

“It is also high time for farmers to start providing the best welfare for fit healthy donkeys to meet their expectations,” the official said.

Johnson Lyimo, who works with the Arusha-based Meru Animal Welfare Organization (MAWO), said: “We have been using different platforms including community-based radios to tell community on the importance of keeping donkeys in secured places with all important animal welfare practices.”

“This is because a large number of the animals have been stolen from pastoralist communities of Maasai in Manyara and Arusha regions because people weren’t taking the animals very serious as they do to cattle and goats,” Lyimo said.

In Tanzania, one of the most important problems in promoting donkeys is the lack of knowledge about their socio-economic status, husbandry and health needs.

An estimated 39 million donkeys live in the developing world and 36 percent of this number is found in Africa including Tanzania.



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