How electric fence construction reduced human-wildlife conflict in Selous

Morogoro. Construction of an electric fence in the Nyerere Selous-Udzungwa wildlife corridor in Ifakara Town Council has been reported to have reduced human-wildlife conflict by 80 percent.

In addition to the fence, 40,000 native trees have been planted out of the 100,000 targeted, with the aim of creating a wildlife-friendly environment to discourage them from entering human settlements, improving conservation, and addressing the effects of climate change.

Goodluck Mallya, District Game  Officer, told members of the Tanzania Environmental Journalists Association (JET) who were on a tour to see the progress of the project on Wednesday.

He said that before the fence was built, they were receiving reports of elephants invading people’s homes and causing damage two to three times a week, but now it can be a month without such incidents being reported, which shows great success.

He said that the current plans are to put beehives at the end of the fence to control wildlife from entering people’s homes to protect villagers from the damage caused by such incidents and for them to see the benefits of having this resource in their area.

Udzungwa mountains

He said that in collaboration with Reforest Africa under the USAID-Tuhifadhi Maliasili five-year project aimed at converting seven of the 61 corridors in the country, they are encouraging tree planting in the corridor and have so far planted 40,000 trees.

Lasima Nzao, Program Manager of Reforest Africa, said that through the Corridor Restoration Project funded by USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili, they are growing native trees by mixing two types of seeds and planting them in the corridor in collaboration with villagers.

He said that this activity is accompanied by education for residents living in the area around the reserve, including Sole Village, Mang’ula A and Kanyenja, on the importance of planting and caring for trees for their own benefit and tourism activities.

Felister Mwalongo, Program Coordinator of the Associazione Mazingira organization, said that through the project they are providing environmental conservation education in the villages around the reserve so that they can be at the forefront of conserving it for their own benefit.

She said that they are also providing this education in primary schools and through the project they have reached 300 students and 45 teachers and distributed 60,000 tree seedlings within four months.

Theodora Aloyce, Head of Conservation for the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, said that the existence of the corridor is important because it helps animals to go to other areas and breed, thus preventing animals of the same species from breeding together and reducing the spread of diseases.

The 13-kilometer corridor passes through the villages of Sole, Kanyeja and Mang’ula A and connects the Udzungwa Mountains National Park with the Nyerere National Park.

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