Tanzania's national park threatened by human settlements
04 November 2013, 08:00
Arusha - The Arusha National Park is threatened to turn into a zoo as the wild animals' home has been surrounded by human settlements, an expert said on Saturday.
James Wakibara, Chief Ecologist with the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), warned that if the trend is left unchecked, the park will become a history of the past.
"All animals, and even humans, must move from one place to another at times, while this is important for grazing, it plays a major role when it comes to mating and breeding," the ecologist said when speaking at the Regional Consultative Committee meeting to address the threats which Arusha National Park is facing.
Wakibara noted that human beings have blocked all passages, causing the wildlife in Arusha National Park to be tightly confined within the small park.
The ecologist warned that since the animals cannot move from the park into other area, they face the danger of inbreeding which means animals have to mate and reproduce among own flock, making them susceptible to diseases, albinism and other forms of nature attacks.
Previously, animal corridors used to connect Arusha National Park with West Kilimanjaro wilderness in the leeward of the continent's highest mountain, as well as Amboseli National Park just across the border into Kenya, but all these passages have been blocked by human settlements.
Located few kilometers from Arusha, Tanzania's northern safari capital, Arusha National Park is a home to giraffe, buffalo, zebra, warthog, the black-and-white Colobus monkey, the blue monkey, flamingo and large python. African elephants as well as leopards are present, but rarely seen and lions have disappeared from the park.
The park attracts to more than 120,000 tourists every year, who go there for wildlife viewing, game driving, walking safaris, canoeing as well as mountain climbing.