The government has officially declared Lake Victoria’s Saanane Island, as the country’s 16th National Park.
The new Saanane Island National Park has an area of 2.18 square kilometres will now include the total areas of the former Saanane Island Game Reserve, Chankende Islands and parts of Lake Victoria water surrounding Saanane and Chankende islands.
According to TANAPA’s Public Relations Manager, Pascal Shelutete, the move follows Government’s Notice Number 227 issued recently.
"…the resolution to establish the park was passed by the National Assembly October last year," Shelutete said in a statement.
Historically, Saanane Island was managed as a zoo in 1964 and elevated to the status of a Game Reserve in 1991. In 2006, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism directed Tanzania National Parks to assume full responsibility of managing and overseeing the overall running of the game reserve and initiate the process of elevating it to the status of a National Park.
To date, TANAPA has taken a number of measures to fully utilize the area profitably by improving its marketability as a tourist attraction site in order to generate its own operational income as well as revenue for the government.
Since 2006, TANAPA has been taking deliberate steps to realize this objective. One of the measures taken was the introduction of rare wild animal species.
TANAPA is now in charge of a total of 16 National Parks in the country, which include the more famous Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Arusha National Parks.
Others are Kilimanjaro, Mkomazi, Saadani, Mikumi, Udzungwa Mountains, Ruaha, Kitulo, Katavi, Gombe, Mahale Mountains and Rubondo Island.
Also, the Gombe National Park boundaries have been expanded from 33.74 square kilometres to 56 square kilometres which now include a portion of water and beaches around Lake Tanganyika.
The expansion of Gombe follows the Government Notice number 228 issued recently following late last year’s resolution to expand Gombe National Park by altering its boundaries as passed by the National Assembly of the United Republic of Tanzania.