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Tanzania orders drought-hit herders to leave national parks

18 May 2016, 16:45

Dar es Salaam (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Drought-afflicted herders have been ordered to remove their cattle from Tanzania's national parks, where they had moved in a bid to find new food sources, the Tanzanian government said late on Monday.

Thousands of heads of cattle, goats and sheep have crossed into Tanzania from neighbouring Kenya and Uganda in recent months searching for water and fresh pasture, according to government officials.

This has placed increasing strains on the east African nation's wildlife and has affected the tourism industry, they said.

All herders - both foreign and Tanzanian - have until June 15 to remove their animals from the protected areas, Tanzanian vice president, Samia Hassan Suluhu, said on Monday.

Failure to vacate the national parks will result in forceful eviction, she said.

"We would not want to see any livestock from either within or outside the country encroach and tamper with our national park ecosystems," Suluhu said.

Worsening drought in many parts of east Africa had forced herders to move cattle into areas protected for wildlife in a desperate bid to find new food sources, she said.

Government officials said the situation has also sparked deadly conflict in some parts of the country as local farmers and pastoralists clash over dwindling pasture and water supplies. 

- Reuters


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