Ngorongoro crater as seen from its rim.
The Tanzanian government has put up infrastructure at Oldonyo Sambu for more than 60,000 Ngorongoro conservation area residents to be relocated there in response to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) conditions for the site to remain in its heritage listing. This was said by the minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Shamsa Mwangunga.
She said Unesco's concern was that there had been increased human activities in the conservation area topped up with increased population, which were reportedly driving the world's heritage site to the brink of collapse.The Ngorongoro Crater area now has a human population of 64,842, more than twice the required number of 25,000 people that the eco-system can support.There are also 13,650, herds of cattle and 193,056 goats and sheep.
She added that Unesco stipulated that the ecological deterioration within Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) brought about by increased farming activities, infrastructural development and more than doubled number of residents with tripling herds of livestock had placed the area in a very awkward situation.
The international body opposes cultivation within the NCA, traffic congestion into the crater at the rate of 300 vehicles per day on average, major hotel constructions on the crater rim and mass tourism policy. Last year Ngorongoro received 425,000 visitors, previously the number averaged 350,000 per annum.
Experts believe this is unhealthy for the site's ecology."If Unesco axes Ngorongoro from the list of the World Heritage Sites, no tourists will come to visit the place again so it is important to comply with their guidelines," said Mwangunga.
The crater is also home to almost every individual species of wildlife in East Africa, with an estimated 25,000 animals living in the caldera.
Personally, I worked in Ngororongoro conservation area for 2 years from Dec. 1999 to Oct. 2001. The population by then was around 35,000 but I could sense the population density increasing from people coming outside Ngorongoro looking for job on booming building activities there. I had a chat by the then conservator about my worries and concern. But it was difficult and very sensitive issue to intervene by then because of electoral processes.
If you have never been in Ngorongoro, I urge you to visit this site at least once in your life time, you will never forget this beauty land of animals.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN