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Maasai living in northern Tanzania’s sanctuary
to be issued with electronic ID  

ARUSHA, Tanzania, (Xinhua) -- Pastoral communities living within the northern Tanzania’s sanctuary of Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) will soon be issued with electronic identity cards, a move that seeks to control the number of people entering the conservation area.

The exercise, which will be supplemented by the marking of livestock in the area, seeks to establish the actual number of human beings and livestock within the NCA.

The initiative will not only spare the eighth wonder of the world from human activities but also help the government ascertain the demand for social services in the district.

Giving an update on the upcoming human beings and livestock census in the area on Wednesday, Chief Conservator with Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Freddy Manongi said his office will issue IDs to the pastoral communities in a bid to thwart strangers entering the conservation area.

“Once we are done with the census we will definitely issue the residents with special identity cards which will only be given to legitimate residents,” he said.

According to Manongi, the 178,800 U.S. dollars exercise which will begin on July 1 this year, seeks to lock out intruders who come to graze their livestock from neighboring countries like Kenya.

Through the process, the NCAA will also establish a Lands Plan Commission in the area.

“This is a very important step towards development, we have had cases of impostors disguising as Maasais hailing from this area thus inconveniencing the provision of social services in the area,” Manongi explained.

The process will also ascertain legitimate residents of NCA who have been residing in the area since 1959.

The NCAA’s decision comes hardly seven months after Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa directed the NCAA to conduct a census on human beings and livestock coexisting with wild animals in the area.

During his tour of the NCA in December last year, the premier expressed concern over the increase of human activities near the Ngorongoro crater and its negative effects on the wildlife ecosystem.

He directed the NCAA to inscribe livestock with special marks once the count is completed.

Earlier on, the chairperson of Ngorongoro Pastoralists Council, Edward Maura expressed his concern over the much-touted census, saying it was bent on locking out some of the legitimate residents in the area.

The firebrand chairperson disclosed before the NCAA officials and fellow pastoral council’s members that there were reports of people being targeted in the exercise.

He recommended a formation of an independent commission comprised of seven Maasai elders, two officials from the NCAA office and two District Commissioner’s office to assist in identifying strangers and legitimate residents during the census which is planned to be conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

“At the moment, there are fears of some genuine residents to be evicted; that is why we want a free and a fair commission,” Maura said.

But on his part, Ngorongoro District Commissioner, Rashid Taka allayed such fears, saying the exercise will not target anyone living within the NCA, and urged the residents to cooperate while NBS move from one household to the other counting people.

“You shouldn’t be worried, let the statisticians do their work,” Taka said.

According to Taka, the census will extend to Loliondo and Sale, areas greatly inhabited by pastoralists.

On numerous occasions, scientists have warned against increased human population, grazing pressure, the spread of invasive species and poaching within the NCAA, saying such practices may soon wipe out the tourist attraction from world wonders.

Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, the NCA includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera.



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