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Drought Horror: Giraffes, Zebras Perish Alongside 30,000 Livestock in Longido

Hot weather spells are affecting most parts of the Northern Zone in Tanzania, but the situation gets worse in Longido where thousands of livestock and wildlife are dying

A drought smitten Giraffe (File Photo)

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More than 50,000 animals, among them domestic livestock and wildlife species are perishing in Arusha as extreme hot weather spells take toll throughout Longido District.

have perished due to serious cases of drought and famine affecting most parts of the Northern Zone in Tanzania.

Giraffes, Zebras and Antelopes are the wildlife species facing the wrath of the drought in Longido as being attested by strewn carcasses doting the windswept, heat-baked landscape.

The Longido District Livestock Officer, Nestory Daqqaro admits that for the last few months the area has been experiencing massive deaths of livestock and wildlife.

“We have so far lost nearly 39,000 cattle, 18 Zebras, 4 Giraffes and 2 gazelles from the drought,” stated Daqqaro.

Rivers and other water sources have been drying up at an alarming rate, while grazing lands get reduced to dunes of host dust in Longido as hot weather spells oven up the district.

“Even donkeys, believed to be drought resistant animals have been succumbing to famine,” points out Daqqaro.

The Livestock officer was speaking during the meeting held to review reports collected from recent research studies.

The study is based on how cattle grazing indigenous communities counter-balance effects of climate change with their day-to-day activities.

Weather turns Longido District into Oven

This year, the average rainfall for Longido dropped to less than 50 millimeters during the monsoon season, according to weather experts in the precinct.

Normally, Longido records between 500 and 900 millimeters of precipitation in a year.

Officials in the area say the rain gauges in Longido have pooled in an average of 45 Millimeters of rain, this year, a rather shocking drop in the district’s history.

But other than heat and drought, invasive plant species have been a major problem in grazing areas where the alien outcrops stifle edible grass.

The foreign, and now turning harmful crop species have been reported to cause diseases to animals and serious allergies among people.

As grasses dry, sometimes cattle and wildlife consume the alien plants that later affect them. At least this is according to Kashim Alais, a community leader from Orbomba village.

His and other observations were tabled in Arusha, during the review and compilation of the report on the new nature-based conservation initiative.

The said project is called titled, ‘Forest, Water and Environment Conservation, Using Indigenous Knowledge.

Media Aid for Indigenous and Pastoralist Community (MAIPAC), is the focus organization which implements the ‘Forest, Water and Environment Conservation, Using Indigenous Knowledge,’ project.

“During the studies we managed to meet, interview and collect basic information from pastoralists, villagers, their elders and other community members in Longido, Monduli and Ngorongoro District on how they apply indigenous skills to offset effects of climate change,”

Mussa Juma – Executive Director (MAIPAC).
Musa Juma (Right) the executive director of MAIPAC

The study is being conducted in partnership with the Longido District Council, Ngorongoro District Council, Monduli District Council, Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) and the Civic and Legal Aid Organization (CILAO).

The resulting reports currently being compiled aim at establishing alternative ways of addressing climate change problems using nature-based solutions.

The ‘Forest, Water and Environment Conservation, Using Indigenous Knowledge,’ project is supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through the GEF Small Grants Program and the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

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