AllAfrica/Daily News

TAWA Eyes Photographic Hunting to Boost Tourism

Bukoba — THE Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA), is focusing on promoting photographic hunting and enhance tourism business through hunting blocks.

TAWA Chief Executive (CEO), Mr James Wakibara informed the Parliamentary Committee for Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism that the strategies would attract more tourists and increase government revenue.

Tanzania is set to become a more attractive tourist destination following concerted efforts to revive and promote tourist attractions.

Plans were being finalised to promote photographic hunting and enhance business through hunting blocks, he said. The Committee Chairman, Mtama Member of Parliament (MP), Nape Nnauye expressed satisfaction on tremendous efforts taken by TAWA to preserve flora and fauna and the environment in the Biharamulo (1,300 kms);

Burigi (2,200 kms) and Kimisi (1,026 kms) game reserves. The Committee members visited Biharamulo and Karagwe districts and were delighted after seeing the wild animals, calling for intensified efforts to ensure that the natural resources were well preserved for the benefit of future generations

. We have to ensure that the natural resources are preserved. More education is also needed to enable people know the value of natural resources. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamis Kigwangala, informed the committee that investment opportunities include photographic tourism, canoeing, sport fishing, walking safaris and camping.

Mr Wakibara revealed that the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), was conducting research on the type of wild animals which would be introduced in the Burigi Game Reserve. TAWIRI was finalising research by introducing Wildebeest at Ibanda/Rumanyika Game Reserve, in Karagwe District.

The next phase would be focused on Burigi Game Reserve. The research was being conducted carefully to know the type of wild animals which would sustain the new eco-system to avoid casualties, he disclosed. Tourism industry has become the second largest foreign exchange earner in the country after minerals.

The Tanzania’s Parliamentary Committee for Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism also directed the wildlife management and conservation bodythe Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA), to hasten construction of border roads to beef up security.

The committee visited several villages including Rwengiri, Bwenkoma and Bubale, in Misenyi District’s Kakunyu Ward and were shocked as there were no clear boundary marks. ” What is more alarming is that people and livestock were crossing the border randomly posing a security risk.

Border roads are of paramount importance,” he said. According to Mr Nape, government has been urged to provide funds for infrastructure development including airstrips in the national game reserves.

The Deputy Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements, Dr Angeline Mabula, said her ministry had so far received about 4bn/- out of which Kagera region would be allocated 1.9bn/- for border demarcation on several villages bordering Uganda.

However, she warned investors who applied and were allocated blocks to ensure that they develop them; failure to do so the government would re-allocate them. The Regional economic profile reveals that the region has five game reserves with a total of 5,526 square kilometers.

The game reserves include Biharamulo (1,300 kms); Burigi (2,200 kms); Kimisi (1,026 kms); Rumanyika (800 kms) and Ibanda (200 kms). Various types of wildlife are found in these game reserves. They include elephants, lions, giraffes, buffaloes, leopards, hippopotamus and antelopes, to mention but a few.

The only species not found in the game reserves to-date is the rhinocerous. Herds of giraffes, zebras and antelopes greeted the Parliamentary Committee for Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism when the committee visited the game reserves over the weekend.

The wild animals had almost perished due to poaching and illegal hunting, which forced the government to take measures, which includes removal of thousands of uncontrolled livestock from the forest and game reserves through “Operation Ondoa Mifugo katika Hifadhi”.

The Principal Game Warden from the Tanzania World Life Authority (TAWA), Bigilamungu Kagoma, revealed that during “Operation Ondoa Mifugo katika Hifadhi,” a total of 13,806 livestock were rounded up, out of which a number of 68,498 livestock were confiscated.

To-date about 8,034 livestock had been sold through auction, fetching revenue amounting to 2,097,351,000/-. About 360 suspects were nabbed, while 164 cases were filed in court and so far 137 cases had been determined.

During his tour in Kagera Region in July, last year, President John Magufuli directed leaders to ensure that no livestock were allowed to return to the game reserves.

The government crafted the Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) to reinforce the fight against poaching activities from within and beyond the national borders. The move is geared to spearhead efforts to combat illegal activity which have ravaged the nation’s wildlife resources.

Growing at a steady rate, Tanzania’s tourism is booming. Increased air access, with many carriers now flying direct to Tanzania, new luxury hotels on the Mainland and Zanzibar, improved infrastructure and tarmac roads on safari circuits are also major factors contributing to Tanzania tourism’s success story.

These improvements together with the diversification of the tourism product adds to the existing allure of Tanzania’s unsurpassed wildlife, seven World Heritage Sites, the cultural richness and friendliness of people, miles of beautiful Indian Ocean coastline and the exotic spice Islands of Zanzibar.