The government plans to carry out a countrywide crocodile census in order to know the carrying capacities and schedule the exact number of crocodiles to be harvested in lakes and rivers during the 2012/13 fiscal year.
Reacting to Kwela Legislator, Ignas Malocha (CCM) in the House yesterday, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Lazaro Nyalandu said the move will enable the government to cull an increasing number of crocodiles in different rivers and lakes in the country.
The Legislator in his basic question had wanted to know the government efforts in addressing increasing crocodiles in Lake Rukwa and how the residents have been benefiting soon after harvests.
Nyalandu said his ministry had specified the number of crocodiles to be harvested in Lake Rukwa within this fiscal year and that the exercise will be conducted in other areas.
“The exercise will enable the ministry to get important statistics to be used to set averages for harvesting and reducing threat on Tanzanians from increasing numbers of crocodiles,” he said.
He said, between 2008 and 2010 about 220 crocodiles worth 8.8m/- were harvested from Lake Rukwa by Cossam Crocodile Farm Company which also benefited residents around the lake.
He explained, 25 percent of the amount was passed on to the Tanzania Wildlife Protection Fund (TWPF), 50 percent directed to the Treasury and the remaining 25 percent given to Sumbawanga district council.
Responding to a supplementary question posed by the legislator who wanted to know if victims harmed by crocodiles are compensated, the deputy minister said, the government normally compensated the victims although there were complaints that the amount was too small.
“We’re in the process to reviewing the amount paid to the victims…but again this depends on the available budget,” he said.
Meanwhile the deputy minister said the government planned to deploy security officers in different forest reserves in the country to protect the area from poachers.
Nyalandu was responding to a supplementary question by Augustine Massele, Mbogwe Legislator who wanted to know the government strategies to protect forest reserves after the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority set a number of schemes for promoting tourism in the country.
Nyalandu said the ministry plans to present its draft in the house on the formation of an authority to manage reserved wildlife forests.