IPP Media (Tanzania)

Mark Mkwame,
September 21, 2020

Arusha city was thrown into panic at the weekend when another huge elephant stormed Njiro suburb with area residents taking to their heels to save dear lives.
The jumbo entered the southern part of the city on Saturday night, within the same day after another elephant caused confusion here after sending resident helter skelter, and one died trying to follow it and play with its tail. By late afternoon yesterday, officials of the Wildlife Department were not responding to explain efforts they were making to drive the animal out of the city.

Hamza Juma Njiku, chairman of Njiro Block J area, where the elephant was seen said that after the animal was spotted “we contacted wildlife officials, but so far nobody has responded in person.”

Dr Julius Keyyu, the Director of Research at the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) circulated a message on social media that residents of Njiro must take precautions and not to venture near the elephant which was still loose in their area for hours from early Sunday morning. This jumbo appearance incident is the second in as many days, suggesting that the animals are in pursuit of some need and trying to use routes that are outside the nearby wildlife conservation areas, as Njiro, Olasiti and other suburbs border vital wildlife corridors.

Some officials suggest that there is a herd of elephants trying to retrace routes in an extended ecosystem stretching from Simanjiro District of Manyara Region to the lower sections of the city. Early on Friday another jumbo appeared in Korongoni section of Njiro in Lemara Ward, south of the city. The full grown male elephant caused panic and took the life of a motorcycle rider who tried to play hero in the incident. Long’ida Mollel (35) reportedly followed the beast into the bush, overlooking the Korongoni gorge, boasting he could control the jumbo.

It turned back, lifted him with its trunk and smashed him onto the ground, killing him on the spot. The Korongoroni area chairman Goodluck Lekanyo and Block J chairman Hamza Juma Njiku castigated the behavior of the motorcycle rider as they approached the jumbo too closely. Ordinarily wildlife rangers take a paralyzing gun to stun stray large animals to take them back into reserve at a reasonable distance from where the animal was spotted.

While they went off to fetch their equipment, motorcycle riders started to approach the elephant, causing a loss of life. Anti-Poaching Unit officer Michael Msokwa explained that the animal originates from Lolkisale Game Reserve in Simanjiro, and by venturing to Arusha it would be retracing their original eco-system.
“In the past these parts of Njiro used to be a Game Controlled Area before the government decided to downgrade them following mass invasion of people and human activities, but elephants still recognize the area as their habitat,” he pointed out.