Arusha Times (Arusha)

Tanzania: In Focus

Wildlife in town:

Wild animals in Tanzania are associated with protected wildlife areas like National Parks and Game Reserves. Such animals are associated with other categories of protected areas in Tanzania called wildlife management areas and conservation areas. Lest we forget, wild animals exist in some towns in Tanzania as well.

For example, some residents of Mbulu town explain that they often meet animals called hyena in town in the evenings. Hyenas have also been residents in Dodoma town and Mwanza City until recently.

There are three species of hyena in Africa. They include spotted, striped and brown hyena. Of the three species, only the spotted hyena and the shy and much rarer, striped hyena are found in East Africa.

Residents of Dodoma town have associated hyenas with remains of a human being who was alleged to have been killed by a hyena when walking home after drinking local beer in town. The alcohol came to be known as 'fisi' in memory of the man who was eaten by hyena after drinking such alcohol. Hyena is called 'fisi' in Swahili.

In Mwanza, hyenas have been associated with witchcraft and myths. For example, many residents in Mwanza believed that the hyenas found in the City are actually human beings who pose as hyenas during the nights to perform their rituals. It reminds those who believe that humans change to other forms of life when they die.

Residents of Korogwe town believed that a famous traditional healer called Mandondo converted hyenas to buses which he used to transport his patients. Apparently, Mandondo operated several public mini- buses during his time.

The fact is that hyenas are dog-like animals with very strong jaws. Therefore, it is a bad idea to entertain physical encounters with hyenas.

The tiny animals called hedgehogs roam along Arusha City streets and gardens. A hedgehog is a small animal with short, sharp spines on its back from its head to its tail. Its face and belly are white. The animal rolls into a defensive prickly ball when disturbed. Hedgehogs are solitary and active at night. They resemble porcupines but they are much smaller than porcupines.

There are also a substantial number of tree squirrels in Arusha City. That is probably because Arusha is the City of trees.

It is possible to witness baboons teasing domestic dogs along some streets of Arusha. Baboons tease dogs by pretending to climb down the tree while a dog is watching on the ground. It suggests that baboons are aware that dogs cannot climb trees.

Meanwhile, animals called mermaids are associated with coastal cities like Tanga and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Mermaids are half man and half fish creatures which live in oceans and seas. But it is widely acknowledged that mermaids are mythical rather than real creatures.

In Saadan warthogs feed and walk around alongside people in the village. Residents in Saadan claim that warthogs in the area enter houses to search for food without hurting the people they find inside the houses. The animals raise anxiety when they enter the houses when families are serving meals. It sounds like watching a movie.

There are also snakes, lizards and turtles in Arusha City. Not to mention varieties of birds and poisonous spiders.

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