Mkomazi Newsletter 1999: Management
Early in the year, the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr. Luhanjo, visited us with Mr. Ndunguru of the Wildlife Division and together we laid to rest the troubles of the past and resumed a positive relationship for the future. Mr. Marenga, (now deceased), who started the malicious prosecution against us, was transferred out of the reserve and a great new project manager was installed, the court case against us was dropped and so ended efforts to thwart the conservation efforts of The Mkomazi Project. It all came to an end so quickly that one wonders why one ever felt any doubt with all the wise words and advice of the many people who support this project.
Mr. Lusasi, and his assistant, Mr. Chuwa have taken in hand the reserve once again and working together with Tony, management is now up and running.
In June 99, the KWS were involved in a shoot out with Tanzanian elephant poachers, who had killed over 8 elephant in a matter of weeks on the Mkomazi/Tsavo border. Arrests were made, both in the field and subsequently by the Tanzanian Wildlife Division. The Arusha regional office sent in back up anti- poaching patrols and Mr. Lusasi traveled to Dar to get further funding to deal with this. Whatever spin there may be about the supposed benefits of the ivory trade, the sharp and horrific reality comes into focus when Africans are shooting other Africans in the field, and all for a tiny sum of money ($6.00 per kilo of ivory). Only the middlemen, international traders and dealers make the big bucks out of this now sickening commodity.
Joint patrols between KWS and Mkomazi are now taking place regularly and the Trust assists with the plane. Mr. Lusasi and Tony are planning ranger outposts in strategic areas in the reserve from which to base a permanent ranger presence, with foot patrols and vehicle patrols. Mr. Lusasi and Mr. Chuwa have themselves lead patrols in the field on a regular basis. We hope to take them over to Tsavo to strengthen the relationship and areas of mutual interest. Much of this has already been designated in official cross border meetings between both sides so it seems like a good time to move forward on a more realistic and practical level. Mr. Chuwa may soon spend more time in the Kamakota/Umba area of the reserve in order to manage that area that has been neglected for so long.
Tony has also spent much time at the Zange HQ where he and Fred Ayo, the Trusts mechanic, have installed solar lights in the wardens living areas in the HQ, plus overhauled, moved and fixed the radio equipment there, both the HF and VHF radio systems, and the solar equipment attached to them. Mr. Lusasi and Mr. Chuwa have appealed to Dar es Salaam for funding to bring back the strong management of the reserve and have been successful in this.
The Zange airstrip was graded as a joint venture between the Wildlife Division and the Trust, and recently the Trusts grader was sent over there to grade the reserve perimeter road between Kisima and Zange and also to regrade the Zange airstrip. Mr. Lusasi put the fuel in and the Trust did 8 days work on the airstrip. Mr. Lusasi backed up the Trusts labourers working on the road system with 6 of his own labourers.
The next joint project will be the installation of electricity at Zange. In 1993 the Trust paid for the sitting, drilling and sinking of a borehole at Zange. Water was found but subsequently nothing was done to make use of facility. With advice from Tony, Mr. Lusasi has now got agreement from the Wildlife Division in Dar es Salaam and the Same District Council to pay for the electricity company to bring their lines (with a step down transformer) down from the road into the HQ. The Trust will then pay for a water pump and it is agreed that this water resource will be made available to the villagers in the settlements surrounding the HQ, on the basis of their respect of the borders of the reserve. Electricity will also be of great assistance to the general running of the HQ.
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