740 acres of crops damaged by wildlife in Iringa region- official

26Mar 2020
Aisia Rweyemamu
The Guardian
740 acres of crops damaged by wildlife in Iringa region- official

MORE than 740 acres of crops in Iringa region have been destroyed by the wild animals during the 2018/2019 farming season.

However, during the same period, nine people from various villages in the region were attacked and injured by the same wild animals, among them, five died.

Iringa district wildlife officer, Fatma Juma said the villagers in the area had been witnessing increased number of wild animal attacking them and destroying their crops.

She said the affected villages are those bordering Ruaha National Park.

“We are recording incidences of lions and elephants attacks”, said Juma as she briefed journalists who were on a field visit in the region.

The tour was organised by the Journalist on Environment Tanzania (JET) via the project for promoting Tanzania’s Environment, Conservation and Tourism (PROTECT) funded by USAID.

The project seeks to promote effective and consistent oversight by the media on reporting wildlife conservation, trafficking and poaching.

The officer said, following the destruction, a total number of 470 villagers in the region will be compensated for the loss.

According to her the most affected villages are Malizengo,Mafuruto, Kisanga, Kinyika, Kisele, Mkunguns, Isele, Idodi, Kizazi, Makuka, Mnadani, Bwerei and Kinyali.

She however elaborated that not everyone whose farms have been invaded by the big animals will be compensated.

She explained that, villagers with less than one acre will not be compensated; therefore those with one acre and above are the ones who are entitled to be paid. She said compensation will be paid to owners of farms located five miles from the park’s border.

The payments are 100,000/- per acre, she said.

“Four villagers were injured by hyenas and the five others from Migori and Mnadani villages were killed by elephants”, she said.

Juma explained that payments for those injured and left with permanent scars will be paid 500,000/-. Those with temporary injuries will receive 200,000/- while 1m/- will be paid to relatives of people who had been killed.

She said the council has allocated 77m/- for compensation.

The officer noted that in 2018/2019 season, a total of 31 livestock including cows were killed by lions.

She said in 2019/2020 a total of 581 acres of crops had been destroyed including two deaths which had been reported in recent months. During the period, 78 domestic animals were killed by lions.

“We have been working with wildlife conservation communities in the affected villages to see how we can enhance patrols and security to ensure safety of the villagers and their properties”, she explained.

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