Road accidents killing over 230 animals in Mikumi National Park annual

MIKUMI National Park is losing an average of 237 animals every year from road accidents, the park warden has said.

Chief park warden, Danat Simoni Mnyagatwa said the accidents occur along a 50km-section of a highway that passes through the park and is used by vehicles going to or from neighbouring Zambia, Malawi and as far as Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

“This gives us a hard time when it comes to wildlife management and conservation…the road is so busy and poses serious threat to the sustainability of wildlife as most animals get hit by the speeding vehicles,” Mnyagatwa said citing a recent incident whereby eight buffaloes were killed by a speeding lorry.

According to Mnyagatwa, an average 237 wild animals are killed by speeding vehicles annually. The park warden heaped his blame on the Tanzam highway that passes through the 52-year-old wildlife sanctuary.

Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) and other stakeholders have recommended the need for the government to relocate the 50km section of the Tanzam Road so that it passes outside the park that is Tanzania’s fourth largest animal sanctuary.

“But, the government hasn’t yet started working on the proposal. Once this proposal is taken into consideration we’ll be in a position to rescue innocent wild animals which are killed by the vehicles,” the warden added.

He admitted that the proposal to relocate the road will add travel cost on transporters as the distance will increase from the current 50 to 142 kilometers. However, Mnyagatwa remained optimistic that once the road is relocated, wildlife will be safe and help scale-up tourism.

He went on to cite another issue this time the increasing tendency of passengers to feed wild animals such as baboons; “feeding wildlife with something from outside the park reduces the natural aspect of the wildlife and the environment of the park, that’s why we want this section of the road to go,” the park warden said.

“We have been educating passengers not to feed animals, but the challenge still remains,” he added noting that to enforce this law, vehicles are now inspected for dustbins to stop passengers from throwing trash into the park.

Mikumi National Park is south of Selous Game Reserve, the two areas form a unique ecosystem and are bordered by the Udzungwa Mountains and Uluguru Mountains.

Habari Mpya

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