What the Media Doesn’t Tell You About Wildlife Corridors of Tanzania

Tanzania’s revenue from tourism alone has risen from 714.59 US dollars in 2021 to 1,310.34 million dollars in 2022.

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Many stories about wildlife in Tanzania will tell you about its beauty, unforgettable places, and remarkable sceneries that will leave you with a thirst for visiting them whenever an opportunity comes.

However, what if that is not the only story that needs to be told?

The wildlife sector is being faced with several challenges, to name a few; climate change that leads to drought and floods, natural disasters like forest fires, and human and wildlife conflicts that are caused by the growth of the human population and the increase of the hunt for natural resources including feeds for domestic animals, water and agriculture.

These challenges contribute to an unending circle of frictions that leave behind deaths, destructed properties and homes, and injuries no compensation can take back.

These frictions can be reduced when people are given the right information in order to understand the benefits that the wildlife corridors partake in the Tanzanian life, including their importance in the national economy and the existence of mankind as well.

The right information can reach people widely when the media is well informed and involved in wildlife activities enough to understand these challenges and report them in a language that citizens can understand and embark on a change.

Facing the knowledge gap

The wildlife sector underpins Tanzania’s tourism industry and, therefore, is a key economic resource for Tanzania, it is important to resolve the challenges facing the sector.

The matter brings in wildlife and environment stakeholders to bridge the information gap between journalists and wildlife experts with the aim of ensuring people know the benefits of the wildlife corridors being beyond a seasonal path of wild animals.

The Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) via the “Tuhifadhi Maliasili Project” funded by the USAID Tanzania has begun the initiative to bridge the gap through training journalists who will in return write stories, produce programs that capture images and videos that will help in creating awareness about the wildlife corridors among Tanzanians.

JET’s Chief Executive Officer, John Chikomo says, the initiative has begun with training 25 journalists from various places in Tanzania hoping in the end they will provide the right information to Tanzanians and settle challenges that face the wildlife corridors in Tanzania.

“We intend to increase journalist’s understanding of wildlife movement corridors, biodiversity and natural resource management, wildlife and forest-related crimes, conservation, and practices,” said Chikomo stressing that when journalists report it right, it will help to press on the needed change.

With people being aware of what benefits the corridors hold, it will be easier for humans and wildlife to find a center of coexisting while letting the nation benefit economically, socially, and ecologically.

USAID’s Tuhifadhi Maliasili Private Sector Engagement Manager, Dr. Elikana Kalumanga, says, people need to be educated on the threats facing wildlife corridors including climate change, natural disasters and man’s development activities such as road construction and settlement so that they can learn on the ways to navigate them.

He says it is important for that knowledge to be shared since these threats draw conflicts when wild animals temper with what man has made, for instance, agricultural projects or an attack on domestic animals by wild animals.

“When there is no tolerance by men, conflicts rise and as a result animals that destroy what man has made are killed. But if people are aware of the benefit that the animals have in the economy or even their social life, they won’t kill the animals,” comments Dr Kalumanga.

On the other hand, USAID’s Tuhifadhi Maliasili M&E manager, John Noronha said, “Coexistence between people and wildlife is a national priority for sustainable development and wildlife conservation in Tanzania.”

This is because, mankind benefits from wildlife in both social, economic, and ecological means, but still there are a lot of negative effects brought by the conflicts in question.

Noronha suggests the communities need to be empowered in mitigating the wildlife impacts that happen in their areas with respect to the animals in question. There are some animals that can be scared away by flashlights and others need simple plants of pepper to drive them out of human-based areas.

“There is also a need to improve community livelihoods, especially in communities that depend on a single source of income. When one has two income sources it is easy to have tolerance when the other income source is tempered with,” says Noronha.

The wildlife sector contributes a lot to the national economy through tourism, and that is why it needs to be protected. The Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources reports Tanzania’s revenue from tourism alone has risen from 714.59 US dollars in 2021 to 1,310.34 Million Dollars in 2022.

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