Tanzania threat to evict 40 000 for hunting park

2014-11-18 23:09
Masaai line up to vote in a general election in Kumpa, Kenya. (Riccardo Gangale, AP)

Masaai line up to vote in a general election in Kumpa, Kenya. (Riccardo Gangale, AP)

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Dar es Salaam - Tanzania will evict thousands of members of the Maasai community from their traditional lands if it goes ahead with plans to create a hunting park, campaigners claimed on Tuesday.

Global activist group Avaaz alleged Tanzania had ambitions to turn 1 500km² of land in the Loliondo district intro a hunting reserve for a company catering to the United Arab Emirates' royal family.

There was no immediate response from the government, which scrapped similar plans next to the world famous Serengeti reserve in September 2013.

However, Avaaz said Maasai community leaders had been told they would be offered a $578 000 for their lands, less than $150 each for 40 000 of them to leave.

"The Maasai are the poster-boys to attract tourists to Tanzania, but in their own country they risk becoming the great unwanted," said Alex Wilks, campaign director for Avaaz, which has collected an online petition of 1.7 million names.

"This deal would be disastrous for Tanzania's reputation, for wildlife and for the Maasai."

The land borders the Serengeti national park, where animals cross into neighbouring Kenya's Maasai Mara park following seasonal grazing.

Read more on:    avaaz  |  kenya  |  tanzania  |  east africa  |  conservation

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