Hunters’ fire signals Hadzabe doom

Bwire, Nyamanoko

2003 March 29

Book ID 694

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Bwire, Nyamanoko Hunters’ fire signals Hadzabe doom, 2003 March 29
Extract Author: Nyamanoko Bwire
Extract Date: 2003 March 29

Hunters’ fire signals Hadzabe doom

Hadzabe bushmen residing within the Yaeda Chini escarpments of Mbulu district in Manyara region, have expressed their concern regarding the current increase of human activities in reserved areas.

Speaking in Arusha last week, representatives of the indigenous tribe said, of late, there has been an influx of hunters, poachers and farmers whose combined activities are slowly but surely destroying their eco-system.

Aided by an interpreter, the two Hadzabe spokesmen, Magandula Kizali and Maloba Masanga who were attending a special workshop on Wildlife Act review at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) said such activities were threatening their survival.

According to the Hadzabe, groups of people have been invading their forest dwellings, armed with heavy guns with which they kill large numbers of miscellaneous species of animals a move which has caused most of these wildlife components to disappear either by death or migration.

Farming is also reported to be currently destroying the natural vegetation at Yaeda Chini and surrounding areas. Because human immigrants have been doing some large scale deforestation in their quest to convert the previously virgin land into large farming plots.

Hadzabe, who live on small wild animals, roots and wild fruits for food, find these human activities a sign of their extinction.

The Mbulu District Wildlife Officer (DWO), Allan Shani admitted that such activities indeed exist and that the Hadzabe bush men have been playing an important role in protecting both the wild animals and the environment in the past, but now things have gone out of control.

"Animals had been having a profitable symbiotic relationship with the bushmen", said Shani adding that the Hadzabe would protect the wildlife and benefit by eating little animals such as squirrels and monkeys.

"They never killed animals for fun or in large numbers and never bothered with big game", said the DWO of Mbulu explaining that, animals were much used to the Hadzabe and never attacked them.

Mbulu District Commissioner, Gabriel Songa said people invasions of Yaeda Chini reserve areas have so far resulted into a myriad of court cases but many of which are later solved traditionally with agreements done out of court.

Human activities in both national parks and reserved areas are posing great danger to both the environment and wildlife throughout the northern zone of Tanzania according to recent studies.

The Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) in conjunction with the Mweka College of Wildlife are currently conducting an extensive research on the effect of human activities in reserved areas.

Hadzabe bushmen are currently found in Iramba districts of Singida, Mbulu in Manyara, Karatu in Arusha and Meatu district of Shinyanga.

Extract ID: 4136
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