The Arusha Times

Issue 00536

September 20 - 26, 2008

issn 0856 - 9135 


Locals struck with awe in first park excursion

By Joel Mmari 

While tourists are enjoying the beauty and  wonders of our national  parks  locals neighbouring the conserved  areas actually do not know  what is  in there.  

A guide briefing pupils before the park tour.

Thanks to the efforts of the People & Predators Fund, the first ever field excursion in 36 years to Tarangire National Park was organized and facilitated for standard six students at the Loibor Siret Primary school in Simanjario District. 

Since the park’s establishment in the 1970s, students and teachers at the Loibor Siret Primary School haven’t had the opportunity to conduct a field visit to their neighbors, Tarangire National Park, despite the fact that it is only 15 km from the school compound to the Park gate. 

On  August 30 and 31 this year  the People & Predators Fund facilitated and funded 155 children, teachers and village officials to visit Tarangire National Park to learn about the ecology and biology of the park as well as the significance of wetlands found inside the protected area in relation to their own open grassland and savannah woodland which acts’s as wildlife refuge during the wet season. 

Being so close to Tarangire National Park, Loibor Siret village acts as a dispersal area for wild animals during the rainy season when zebra, wildebeest and other large game calve outside of the park. Large prides of lions are also found there. By having wild animals concentrated in their village land, frequent conflicts occur between people and wild animals. The People & Predators Fund has worked together with the community for over 7 years to try to solve the human-wildlife conflicts, particularly livestock predation in the village.  They have also provided educational materials to children and raised awareness of the importance of nature and the conservation of  natural resources. 

Tarangire National Park

The kids, teachers and village government officials were so excited to have an opportunity to experience a “Life time adventure” in the Park. The field trip was successful, and participants were able to see a lion hunting oryx, cheetah hunting impala, and a leopard resting on a tree branch. They also saw many other wild animals, birds and amazing baobab trees found in Tarangire National Park. 

The People & Predators Fund would like to thank the Tanzania National Parks Authority for waiving the access fee for the children and the park rangers of the Loibor Siret gate for facilitating our entry into the park and providing the children with a brief lecture. We would also like to thank the Sea World & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund for making the trip possible.

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