Telesia Mahonga, Karatu District Commissioner, said that Lake Manyara ecosystem is under serious threat, and if left unattended the northern Tanzania’s park will vanish in thin air.
“And as leaders, we cannot wait this to happen. We have informed paddy growers on the upper parts of rivers to quit and if they defy the order, we’ll evict them by force,” the official said, describing the park as key for the flamingos that inhabit the lake.
During the wet season they inhabit the edges of the lake in flocks of thousands but they are not so present during the dry season.
The park is a home of more than 400 species of birds inhabits the park and many remain throughout the year.
“Because of this Lake Manyara National Park is a good spot for bird watching. Visitors to the park can expect to see upwards of 100 different species of bird on any day,” she said, adding that the sanctuary contribute heavily to the country’s tourism sector
"Large part of water in Lake Manyara comes from Karatu District in areas of Mbulumbulu, Kilimatembo, Bugery, Rothia and some of Monduli District.
“But, farmers who do farming on the upper parts of those rivers have been contributing deposition in the lake, which in turn affect breeding sites of birds and wild animals,” she said.
She, however, said: “Before evicting them, we’re educating farmers on better farming practices, which are friendly to the environment as well as informing them on the negative impact of farming nearby rivers. And those who would defy the order will be taken to court.”
Noelia Mhonga, chief park warden also suggested swift measures to be taken by the government and other players to save the 58-year-old lake.
Mhonga suggested the need for line ministries—Regional Administration and Local Government, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Water, Energy, Minerals, Vice President’s Office (Environment) and Natural Resources and Tourism to sit down and rescue the park.
Ibrahim Ninga, park official in-charge of neighbourhood said the sanctuary is surrounded with 46 villages, who are engaging with different human activities such as farming and livestock rearing, which all pose a negative impact on the lake.