Tanzania’s government is moving ahead with its plans for a hydroelectric dam in Selous Game Reserve. A huge swath of the UNESCO World Heritage site and habitat of iconic African wildlife would suffer irreparable damage. 1,500 km2 – an area the size of London – has just been opened to logging. Please help us protect Selous.
This project promises to solve the country’s energy woes. But it could wash away chunks of a prized wildlife reserve.
Tanzania’s world renowned Selous Game Reserve could lose its status as a World Heritage Site following the government’s decision to set up the Stiegler’s Gorge power project in the park, a venture that involves logging and other anti-environment activities.
The EastAfrican has learnt that the issue of the power project inside the game reserve is on the agenda of the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee — the organ that decides on the inscription or deletion of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger — to be held in Manama, Bahrain, later this month.
Richard Lo Giudice, programme specialist at the Unesco World Heritage Centre, told The EastAfrican that the 2,100MW project will be discussed at the forum, and then Unesco will give its verdict.
“This matter will be brought to the attention of the World Heritage Committee during its 42nd session in Manama from June 24 to July 4, when it examines the state of conservation of Selous Game Reserve,” Mr Giudice said in an e-mail response to The EastAfrican.
Read more from source: World Heritage status of Tanzania’s Selous park at risk
Target: Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank
Goal: Stop construction of enormous hydrodam in Selous Wildlife Reserve that could irreparably harm the habitats of many protected species.
A proposed hydrodam project in Tanzania is threatening the habitat of many endangered species. The dam is proposed to be constructed in the Selous Wildlife Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest protected wild areas in Africa. A large number of protected animals could be lost, including elephants, endangered African wild dogs, and the critically endangered black rhinoceros.
The dam is proposed to be constructed in the Rufiji River starting in July. The 430-foot tall, 2,300-foot wide dam would provide 2,100 megawatts of electricity to Tanzania and create a 463-square-mile lake, covering much of the area where the protected animals congregate during the dry season, according to scientists. Over 2.6 million trees would need to be felled to make way for the project. It is estimated that the damming of the river would impact approximately 200,000 farmers and fishermen downstream, by shutting off water and nutrients to farms and fisheries.
Read more from source: Block Destruction of Protected Wildlife Reserve
Despite major backlash from conservationists, the Tanzanian government plans to start building a hydropower dam inside a UNESCO-protected wildlife reserve this July. More than 2.6 million trees face the chop.
The Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania is one of the last major expanses of wilderness in Africa. It’s a protectedUNESCO World Heritage Site about the size of Switzerland, and home to elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs and rhinos, as well as 12 percent of all endangered African wild dogs.
But the nature reserve is under threat.
Since 2014, it has been on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger, primarily because of elephant poaching. In less than 40 years, the park lost 90 percent of its elephants. But a planned hydropower dam could have an even more devastating impact.
Power generation vs. conservation
Tanzania has an electricity problem. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), only 10 percent of households in Tanzania have access to the national grid.
To meet the country’s energy needs, the Tanzanian government is planning to build a huge hydropower dam on the Rufiji River, in the heart of the protected Selous Game Reserve.
Tanzania has opened bids by companies seeking contracts to clear forests within the Selous ecosystem, a world heritage site, in preparation for the construction of the Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric dam.
This signals another step in the implementation of the project that the government says will help solve the country’s power shortage.
The project, when completed, is expected to add 2,100MW to the national grid, bringing the total installed capacity to 3,651MW.
The Tanzania Forests Services (TFS) had invited bids for clearing 148,000 hectares of forestland.
The tender document seen by The EastAfrican shows that TFS is looking for eligible companies to buy trees with a total volume of about 3.5 million cubic metres in Rufiji district, distributed into six manageable blocks.
TFS chief executive, Prof Dos Santos Silayo, confirmed receiving the bids.
Energy Minister Medard Kalemani had said the $2 billion hydropower project, Tanzania’s biggest, will be implemented from July this year.
The government identified the project to be implemented alongside the $215 million Kidunda Dam within Selous ecosystem. The project will be implemented in three years.
Read more from source: Tanzania opens bids linked to Selous park dam project
Tanzania is proposing large-scale logging in the middle of the Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most iconic wildlife areas in Africa.
Tender documents have revealed plans for extensive timber harvesting in the middle of the Selous Game Reserve which is also one of the oldest and largest game reserves in the world, covering an area of 54 600 km2. The reserve is an important refuge for Elephants and lions as well as the critically endangered African Wild dog and a host of other species.
The documents state that almost 1 500 square kilometers will be cleared, and almost 3.5million cubic meters of wood extracted, with 2.6 million trees felled, to an expected value $62million. It is not clear who the beneficiaries will be.
Selous has already lost 95% of its elephants in the last 30 years, and it is expected that opening up the park to logging and consequent related development will increase poaching as has been the case in many other parts of Africa.
Read more from source: Tanzania opens pristine World Heritage reserve to logging | Independent on Saturday
The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, according to UNESCO.
Read more from source: Tanzania asks bank to finance hydropower project in heritage site
Today is World Heritage Day or The International Day for Monuments and Sites. It was proposed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) on 18 April 1982 and approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983. The first time this day was marked was 1984. The aim is to promote awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage of humanity, their vulnerability and the efforts required for their protection and conservation.
There are about 1052 world heritage sites in the world, among them 814 are cultural, 203 are natural and 35 are mixed (Natural and Cultural).
In Tanzania we have seven heritage sites. Three are cultural, three are natural and one is mixed. Five more have been proposed and submitted on the tentative list for consideration and nomination.
And here is an interesting journey through the heritage sites of Tanzania!
Kondoa Rock Art Site (2006) – Cultural
On the eastern slopes of the Masai escarpment bordering the Great Rift Valley are natural rock shelters, overhanging slabs of sedimentary rocks fragmented by rift faults, whose vertical planes have been used for rock paintings over at least two millennia.
Read more from source: Tanzania and the World Heritage Sites
If an angry bull elephant tilts its head back, flaps its ears and then thunders towards you, keep your cool, our guide instructs us. Don’t run, don’t hide and definitely don’t fall on your knees and pray.
Instead, stand still, look him right in the eye, hold your ground and shout at him. Shout at him? Shout at a huge, three-tonne creature coming at you full tilt in the faint hope you’ll scare him?
“Yes, that’s right,” says Hamza, a guide in Africa’s oldest, biggest and, some say, wildest wildlife reserve, the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. “Hopefully, the elephant will be mock-charging you anyway to warn you.” Hopefully …
And if you come across a lion? It’s the same advice in the briefing before starting a three-hour early morning walk through the reserve. One of Hamza’s friends, as part of his training to be a guide, had to hike alone through the bush. He chanced upon a hungry pride and spent five hours shouting at his circling predators until they finally gave up and slunk away.
Read more from source: The most dangerous animal in Africa may surprise