Pas­toral­ists or­dered out of Longido for­est re­serve

The African - - NEWS/ADVERT - BY A COR­RE­SPON­DENT, ARUSHA

Scores of live­stock keep­ers and farm­ers who have in­vaded a for­est re­serve on Longido Moun­tain in Longido Dis­trict, Arusha re­gion have been or­dered out.

The strik­ing mas­sif, lo­cated about 20 kilo­me­tres from the Na­manga bor­der town and 80 km North of Arusha Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, is a pro­tected area and source of water for the dis­trict head­quar­ters and ad­ja­cent vil­lages.

The of­fi­cer in charge of Lands and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Depart­ment, Eliya Sam­son Maiko, told re­porters last week that peo­ple who would not obey the order will be evicted by force.

“There is a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple who have set­tled on the moun­tain to cul­ti­vate and graze cat­tle. That is un­ac­cept­able be­cause this is a pro­tected for­est and the source of water”, he said.

He added that over­graz­ing of an­i­mals was al­ready a ma­jor con­cern there and was courting a dis­as­ter in the drought prone dis­trict where large herds of live­stock per­ished in 2009/2011 af­ter a pro­longed drought.

Although he could not give fig­ures, the of­fi­cial said there was a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of new set­tlers high on the moun­tain with the for­est zone now hav­ing patches due to veg­e­ta­tion clear­ing.

The 2,637 me­tre high moun­tain also hosts wild an­i­mals, in­clud­ing leop­ards, ele­phants and buf­faloes and is one of the three gazetted for­est re­serves in Longido Dis­trict; the two oth­ers are Ki­tum­beine and Ge­lai moun­tains in the Lake Na­tron basin.

The Dis­trict For­est Of­fi­cer, Ja­cob Oforo Ly­imo, said tree felling for char­coal pro­duc­tion was equally wor­ry­ing and that it has been ac­cel­er­ated by the big de­mand of fuel wood in Arusha City and Na­manga town.

He added that dis­trict au­thor­i­ties in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Non-Gov­ern­men­tal Or­ga­ni­za­tions (NGOs) are en­hanc­ing con­ser­va­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources in the dis­trict through the Wildlife Man­age­ment Ar­eas (WMAs).

In re­cent years, Longido has also at­tracted tourists, mainly hun­ters, bring­ing in the bad­lyneeded cash to the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties where the six hunt­ing blocs are lo­cated and the dis­trict coun­cil.

The area also falls un­der the cul­tural tourism pro­gramme aimed at sup­port­ing Maa­sai

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