THE Government has announced a new plan for preventing elephants from invading residential areas a move aimed at protecting people and avoid destruction of crops by those wild animals.
Speaking during her visit to Mwanga district, in Kilimanjaro region recently, the Deputy Minister for Natural resources and Tourism Ms Mary Masanja noted that the plan would include collaborating with stakeholders to plant trees and put beehives in areas bordering the Mkomazi National Park (Mkonapa) and the residential areas.
"The government understands your concerns over the invasions by wild animals; we therefore have come up with some strategies to curb them and today let me assure you that we are going to plant trees and put beehives; this will help prevent elephants because noises will chase them away,", she explained further.
Ms Masanja hailed the people residing in areas which are subject to elephant attacks for tolerating the situation while at the same time not retaliating by killing the animals despite of the damages they cause to them.
She continued to say that the government will contribute funds which would be used for the construction of two classrooms of a new school which is expected to be constructed at the Kwakowa ward, within the district.
"I am made to understand that, among the reason for constructing the school is to save pupils who are at risk of been attacked by elephants while on their way to and from school; let me assure you that in the new financial year 2021/2022, the government will provide funds to support the construction of the school", she added.
Ms Masanja promised personal contribution whereby she said she will facilitate the construction of two modern toilet facilities for the projected new school.
She reiterated the government's intention of making sure that all those who were affected by the Jumbo's attacks would be compensated as by June, 2021, although she said she couldn't promise the increase of the compensation rates as requested by some of the residents.
"The idea you submitted of compensating the crops which were destroyed in all three crop seasons instead of compensating those destroyed during the long rains alone will also be considered by the government", she said.
Ms Masanja also said that the government will take and put it in consideration the idea kept forward by the residents of Mwanga which requested it (government) through its relevant authorities to put an electrified fence around the Mkomazi National Park so as to prevent elephants and other wildlife species from invading residential areas.
Earlier, speaking on behalf of the residents of Kigonigoni area, the Kigonigoni Ward Councilor Mr. Jeremiah Shayo, said the residents of the area were facing famine after their crops were destroyed by the attacking elephants.
"The destruction of crops by the attacking elephants from Mkomazi and those from the Tsavo National Park from the neighbouring country Kenya, made us failing to harvest crops we cultivated in the past six crop seasons", he said.
For his part, the Mwanga constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Mr Joseph Tadayo asked the government to support the people of Kwakowa Ward who were planning to construct the new school within the ward which would prevent pupils from walking more that 8 km to and from school while passing in areas which are very dangerous because of the attacking elephants.
Mr. Tadayo also urged the government through its relevant authorities to consider on how save the elephant attacks situation at the Kwakowa and Kigonigoni Wards which were recently declared as the potential irrigation areas which could provide food fro the district and outside the district.
"These areas were declared as irrigation zones and even irrigation experts have visited the area and justified the idea; the challenge here is that the youth who are the number one beneficiaries of the plan fear to go there because the areas are attacked by elephants every now and then", he said.