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History
Conservation philosophy in Tanzania
Posted: Thursday July 30, 2009 2:54 AM BT
By Gloria Babu
From the people to Kaiser Wilhelm, King George, Queen Elizabeth to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and back to the people via TANAPA.Whether one is for The Bible or Darwin, it remains a fact-that the hunting and gatherer man lived with the beast in the wild and that their relationship involved resource use and some management.
Cheeter in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, established in 1959, is a pioneering experiment in multiple land use. Here pastoralism, conservation and tourism co-exist in a carefully managed harmony. The centrepiece of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater which is a caldera The Crater floor is a natural sanctuary for thousands of animals and many species of insects and birds.
Although there is no documented management measures practiced by our ancestors, when the missionaries and the colonizers arrived in Africa, they found sacred places created by the people. They found a selection of animals specified for sacrifice to their creator. In such places, some of which can be traced to the present day, hunting or tree cutting was prohibited.

However, reading between the chronicle lines, one can already see some evidence of resource exploitation by man having reached threatening levels in our part of the world by the 1840s. At work was the ivory trade, whose prosperity spelt the demise of the elephant population. Behind every two tusks there was one fallen elephant.

This is the situation that greeted the German colonizers on arrival in 1885. Six years later, amid back home press reports of the imminent threat to the wildlife, the Germans found themselves issuing hunting regulations. From 1896 to 1908, several decrees were issued leading to the Wildlife Law of 1911 that banned commercial hunting, which was essentially an affair of the foreigners. Traditional hunting remained intact and the participation of the local chiefs was recognized.

The German philosophy was to conserve wildlife and protect many species from becoming extinct and think of the future generations by securing them the chance to enjoy the pleasure of hunting African game in the future. They had the interests of the future foreign (European) hunters at heart. At the same time they considered the interests of science.

One is also at liberty to agree or not agree with a philosophy of wildlife conservation for the throne. For, some chronicles have it that Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm created and gave four beautiful game reserves to his (beautiful?) wife as a birthday present. Collectively, the reserves were known as Shamba la Bibi (the lady's field).

Come the British rule after the First World War, the four were expanded and united into what we, today, call the Selous - the largest game reserve in Africa. Concentration was, however, put on the area north of the Rufiji River. This is the area that is essentially famous today.

In 1929 they initially established a 2,286-sq. km game reserve in the Serengeti plains. Eleven years later they extended and gazetted a total of 25,500 sq. km. as a national park, the first in the country.

Thirty years later in 1959, the Tanzania Parks Authority was formed and the Ngorongoro, Crater Conservation Area (NCCA)

 
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