Tanzania to use Lake Victoria waters for Serengeti wildlife

Lake to help animals survive during increasing droughts

The Tanzanian government is to use Lake Victoria as an alternative water source for the wild animals of Serengeti National Park, to help them survive the country's increasingly intense droughts.

The government says the project is designed to ensure the survival of millions of animals, including the wildebeests, zebras and gazelles that take part in the annual migration.

It involves reviving an old plan to "clear" a 36-sq km corridor for the animals by extending the park's border to Speke Gulf on the south-eastern edge of Lake Victoria, in the Bunda district.

This would allow animals access to the freshwater lake but would mean evicting hundreds of families living in the area. The government says the villages being evacuated include Serengeti, Nyatwari and Tamau but that residents have been promised land elsewhere in the area. However locals are resisting the plan and propose setting up a joint wildlife management committee instead.

The government say that moving some 8,000 people off the land is "unavoidable due to the importance of the area to the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem."

Official reports cite cattle farming as well as increasing cases of timber felling and poaching as posing a threat to the region's wildlife.

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