According to The Guardian, the Tanzanian government has announced plans to create what it envisages to become the largest national park in Africa by merging Ruaha National Park with Usangu Game Reserve in central Tanzania Currently, Ruaha National Park in central Tanzania measures 10,300 sq. kms. Once merged with Usangu, its size would add to over 15,000 sq. kms.Gerald Bigurube, Director General at the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) said at the on-going 33rd Africa Travel Association (ATA) Annual Congress that the move would ultimately make Ruaha the largest national park in Africa.He said that one of the aims the government was determined to annex Usangu to Ruaha is to save biodiversity of that area as well as to increase tourism to the region and this can best be accomplished if the areas are administered and marketed by TANAPA as unified product.
According to him, Ruaha is also home to over 450 bird’s species and the Usangu Game Reserve includes the Ihefu wetland, the natural water reservoir for the Great Ruaha River.
He said adding that Tanzania is constantly working on upgrading its game reserve to national park status where there is no consumptive use of resources and this allows for the multiplicity of species, increasing the wildlife in the parks.
Elaborating Ruaha National Park he said that, Ruaha that boasts 10,000 elephants, the largest population of any East African national park, protect a vast tract of the rugged semi-arid bush country that characterizes central Tanzania and its lifeblood is the Great Ruaha River which courses along the Eastern boundary of the park.
Also a fine network of game-viewing roads follows the Great Ruaha and its seasonal tributaries where during the dry season, impala, waterbuck and other antelopes risk their life for a sip of life sustaining water.
Furthermore the risk is considerable with prides of 20 plus lions lording over the Savannah, the cheetahs that stalk the open grassland and the leopards that lurk in tangled riverside thickets.
Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa well-known for wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism with approximately 28 percent of the land protected by the government.
In total, Tanzania boosts of 15 national parks and 33 game reserves and it is the home of the tallest mountain in Africa, the legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Serengeti.
For this measure, country has greatest percentage of protected land and close to 30 percent of land is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife, flora and fauna.
As part of the Southern Tourism Circuit, the merger is expected would boost the industry which is now the leading foreign exchange earner to Tanzania.
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