Tanzania: Tawa to Deploy Chopper At Maswa Game Reserve

The Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) is set to purchase a special helicopter that will bolster conservation and tourism activities within the Maswa Game Reserve.

TAWA Board Chairperson Major General (Retired) Hamis Semfuko said the management of the Authority charged with conserving and sustainably utilize wildlife resources in protected areas, had approved their board's recommendation of procuring a chopper that will among other things, be used to protecting the natural resources found in the expansive Game Reserve.

"We are delighted that we will in the next financial year, purchase a helicopter that will control livestock grazing, illegal logging and poaching activities in Maswa Game Reserve," revealed the outgoing TAWA Board Chairperson, shortly after overseeing the fitting the Game Reserve's rhino with Very High Frequency (VHF) Tracking Collars used for Wildlife Monitoring, yesterday.

According to Major General Semfuko, the chopper will play a crucial role in sustaining tourism and conservation activities in the Game Reserve located along the southwestern boundary of the Serengeti National Park.

The outgoing TAWA Board Chairperson further insisted on the need of protecting the Game reserve, saying it plays a major part to wildebeests seeking pasture and calving when plains of Serengeti National Park run dry.

On his part, TAWA Acting Conservation Commissioner Mabula Misungwi Nyanda described the reserve as a strategic, potential area for tourism, hence the need of protecting it.

The Conservation Commissioner further revealed that the Wildlife Management Authority had increased the number rangers patrolling the vast woodland area from 62 in 2016, to 111, this year.

"This goes to show the import mace of protecting the area at all cost," he explained.

TAWA also aspires to put in place a control room to heighten surveillance of the 751 square kilometer reserve, according to Mabula.

The grueling task of installing the rhino with VHF tracking collars saw the participation of a number of conservation agencies such as Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), Tanzania Game Trackers (TGT) and the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA).

The exercise involved two aircraft and a special helicopter that hovered over the Game Reserve for hours, darting and fitting the rhino with the collars.

The collars allow researchers and managers to collect baseline data like home range sizes, daily movements, behavioural data and diet.

Such collars are designed to minimize impact on the animals' behaviour and to maximize their detectability.

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