The Tanzania Times has received an official statement from FZS condemning the violence in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area, insisting that biodiversity conservation must consider human dignity.
Photos from the current situation in Loliondo are gruesome, thus we unfortunately cannot publish them.
The society has been working with local villagers in Loliondo on various conservation projects for many years.
Below is the FZ Society’s appraisal of the situation in Loliondo.
Appraisal of the situation of Loliondo
Frankfurt Zoological Society is shocked to learn about reports of violence in Loliondo on 10 June 2022. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely. FZS is not involved or supporting any work related to the erection of the beacons in the area of Loliondo GCA.The Statement from FZS
FZS recognizes the rights of people to secure their livelihoods, enjoy healthy and productive environments, and live with dignity, and therefore applies and actively promotes rights-based approaches to biodiversity conservation.
Where possible, we work proactively with local communities, governments and donor organizations on matters related to land-use and access to natural resources, resulting from the designation of protected areas, forests, biodiversity areas or surrounding zones to ensure that adverse social impacts are avoided or minimized.
At the same time, we believe that protected areas are an essential component in reducing the impact of the global triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pandemics.
The current Loliondo Game Controlled Area (LGCA) of more than 4.000 square kilometers forms an important part of the Serengeti ecosystem, a catchment area for essential watersheds for livestock, people and wildlife, and an important grazing area for resident Maasai communities.
For much of the past two decades, the status of this area has been uncertain, leading to increasing conflict over the land between the Government, investors and communities.
Throughout this time, demands on these natural resources have grown substantially, exacerbated by the uncertainty over what the future holds.
As the Serengeti ecosystem has been a core site for FZS projects for more than 60 years, seeing an end to the conflict in Loliondo is something we care deeply about.
The Government of Tanzania indicated its intention to upgrade approximately 1,500 square kilometers along the eastern border of the Serengeti National Park as a Game Reserve to be managed by the Tanzania Wildlife Authority.
FZS has not been asked to provide technical advice or financial input of any kind on the matter by the Tanzanian Government, nor by the Maasai and other residents of Loliondo.
We were not involved in any decision, nor in the recent erecting of beacons in the area.
FZS strongly condemns the use of violence or intimidation to resolve this issue.
We are committed to work hand-in-hand with communities and Government authorities in this area to find workable and sustainable solutions to secure natural resources on their land for the benefit of the current and future generations.
We hope that such a solution will be reached. (End of the FZS statement)