1 January 2013

Tanzania: 100 Cattle Drown in Serengeti

Mara — CLOSE to 100 head of cattle are feared to have been washed away or drowned in Robana River which passes within Serengeti before discharging water into Lake Victoria, Serengeti District officials confirmed.

"Many cattle have disappeared but only 30 carcasses have been recovered from the river," the Serengeti District Council Vice-Chairman, Mr Jumanne Kwiro, told the 'Daily News' over the phone from the scene yesterday afternoon. The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon when the cows were grazing near Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves.

Police officers from the nearby Natta Police Station, rangers from Ikorongo/Grumeti Game Reserves, and livestock officers on Sunday rushed to the scene in a bid to rescue the animals, according to Mr Kwiro. "We spent several hours at the scene but we only managed to recover 30 carcasses.

Many others are still missing. "People living in low areas should be on high alert at this time when there are plenty of rains," Mr Kwiro who is also the councillor for Natta Ward on the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi(CCM) ticket said.

The owner of the missing animals, Mr Kijiji Bomani, said rescue efforts were until Monday underway, along one of the popular rivers in Western Serengeti. "About 60 cows are still missing but I thank God my neighbours have turned up in huge numbers and we are still searching for the animals.

However, there is little hope," Mr Bomani said when reached for comment. Majority of Serengeti District residents rely on livestock keeping and subsistence farming to make their living. Serengeti is rated to have the largest number of cattle in Mara Region. Large part of Serengeti District is made up of protected areas including the world's famous Serengeti National Park that is blessed with a variety of beautiful flora and fauna.

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