DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA – Tanzania has introduced night viewing in Lake Manyara National Park to attract more tourists.
Some of the most interesting wildlife activities happen during nightfall but normally national parks have closing times.
Tourism officials say this will also widen the tourist avenue in areas of culture, environment and museums.
While tabling the Ministry estimates financial year 2013/2014, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki said they have continued to encourage tourism stakeholders to develop historic sites such as the rock drawings in Kondoa District and the ruins that lie in Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara.
He told parliamentary colleagues that there is a permanent display at the Tanzanian Embassy in Washington DC, United States.
This depicts the Oldupai Valley and the ancient human footprints (Zamadamu) found in the Laetoli area in Ngorongoro. He said the display has attracted much foreign visitors interest.
Ambassador Kagasheki said the Ministry will continue to review the Law of Antiquities Chapter 333; develop guidelines for research and conservation of ancient properties in the historical sites of Kilwa Mikindani and Pangani historical town.
“We are also preparing a list of places to honour freedom fighters in Mtwara region and continue to take part in international meetings in order to benefit from the available opportunities,” Kagasheki said.
He said the Ministry, together with local and foreign participants, will try to successfully excavate the ancient human footprints of Laetoli.
There are also plans to rehabilitate Pangani Fort and build centres for information and records at Amboni Caves in Tanga region and Mbozi’s Meteors in Mbeya region.
“We shall also construct a fence as part of improvement of attraction for Kunduchi centre, Ujiji in Kigoma region and Kaole in Bagamoyo” he said.
However, when debating the budget, MPs pinned the Minister on the spate of elephant poaching which has decreased numbers in several national parks.
The Parliamentary Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources warned that if the increasing wave of elephant killings is left unchecked, the remaining numbers of jumbos will completely disappear in seven years from now.
Committee’s chairman, James Lembeli said that elephant killings have been escalating in Tanzania in recent years and the government seems to be slow in handling the issue.
Citing recent research findings by the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), the MP said figures show there were 109,000 elephants in 2009 compared to below 70,000 last year.
He said about 30 elephants die every day, 850 in a month and 10,000 annually. Rev. Peter Msigwa said elephant killings had reached 10,950 in 2013.
He cited a study carried out by the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) between 2002 and 2012, in which Tanzania is highlighted as one of the leading African countries for ivory. The tusks are shipped to the international markets mainly Hong Kong.
“In 2012, a consignment of 1,330 kilograms of ivory was nabbed in Hong Kong. Between 2005 and 2009, 6,232kilograms of ivory were held in Vietnam, 3,346kgs in Philippines and Malaysia (2011).
These figures threaten the survival of the Tanzania’s wildlife sector,” Rev. Msigwa said.
Minister Kagasheki admitted the fight against poaching was tough regardless of arresting 1,215 suspects and lodging 670 cases and the killing of 17 game rangers by poachers between 1997 and 2012.
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