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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Livestock keepers allege harassment by rangers

3rd May 2012

The government in Serengeti district, Mara region, has been urged to intervene and find a solution to conflicts between livestock keepers from the villages of Bisaraba, Bunchugu and Nyambikili based in Sedeco ward on the one hand and Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA - Serengeti) on the other.

Tanapa also looks after Ikorongo Forest Reserve where livestock keepers complain of being harrassed by Tanapa rangers.

Ward councillor Richard Nyatera made the request when speaking to journalists who were touring the area to study challenges facing the people in the ward.

According to the councillor, the conflicts have lasted for quite a long time, saying they were being harrassed by Tanapa rangers whenever their livestock strayed into Serengeti or Ikorongo areas.

He said a head of cattle is fined between 20,000/- and 100,000/-, adding that sometimes they were not issued with receipts for the fines. "All the cattle they impound are kept in one pen, sometimes they die due to overcrowding," said the councillor.

He said further that it was surprising that whenever livestock keepers were arrested for their straying animals they were taken to Bunda District Police Station and charged there while Serengeti district has its own police stations and courts.

For his part, Serengeti legislator Dr Stephen Kabwe said there was a policy of good neighbourliness between national park authorities and the surrounding villages, saying this should be the starting point to find lasting solutions.

Serengeti District Commissioner Edward Ole Lenga, for his part, said over the phone that he could not comment on the matter because he was outside the district, but pledged to make a follow-up when he returned.

Serengeti chief conservator Mtango Mtahiko said that he would follow up on the matter, adding however that there was no question of bad luck when livestock strayed into the park or forest reserve.

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