Zoological researchers who conducted a year-long investigation along the road stretch in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem say that trucks hit and kill an average of 400 wild animals of different species every year in the zone.
“We dispatched a team which studied the scenario from the Makuyuni Bridge all the way to ‘Kibao Cha Tembo,’ in Babati Rural district for the entire 12 months and recorded that most accidents occurred at dusk,” stated Dr Bernard Kissui, a researcher with the Tarangire Lion Project.
Apparently, the time when most animals get hit is from 6.00pm and well into the night, an interval when cargo trucks especially drive through the area.
Natural Resources and Tourism deputy minister Constantine Kanyasu said he was taking the matter to the Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS) so that the agency can erect warning signs.
“We should also impose penalties as in Mikumi National Park,” he said, asserting that this will push drivers to take precautions.
The researcher was speaking at a meeting of stakeholders at the Babati District Commissioner’s office to discuss ways of protecting the ‘Kwa-Kuchinja’ wildlife corridor. It has been invaded by trespassing residents, he pointed out.
“We need to demarcate all wildlife corridors with official beacons so that local people may know their limits in terms of extending farms, erecting houses or grazing livestock within the precincts,” he stated.
Dr Julius Keyyu, Director of Research at the Arusha-based Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), said there were 31 wildlife corridors mapped all over the country.
“But that is according to the studies leading up to 2009. That is more than ten years ago and we moved to conduct the research again last year but couldn’t accomplish it as we were caught in the midst of coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
The ‘Kwa-Kuchinja’ corridor used to measure 81 square kilometres, but now the wildlife passage has shrunk into a measly 5.2 kilometre width, the researcher noted.
The wildlife corridor connects Tarangire National Park, Manyara Ranch, Mswakini Chini, Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Lake Manyara National Park.
A week ago, Deputy Minister Kanyasu visited the precinct and warned against this encroachment.
He said it not only threatened the eco-system in the area but also posed a danger to invaders as they are “pitting themselves against ferocious beasts that may not take it kindly to have their paths blocked.”