Combating Poaching and Illegal Logging in Tanzania: Voices of the Rangers-Hands-on Experiences from the Field


Ugalla Game Reserve is found in the Tabora and Katavi regions within the Ugalla Ecosystem. It lies between longitudes 31o 26’ and 32o 23’ East and between latitudes 5o 31’ and 6o 03’ South, covering an area of approximately 5,000 km 2 . The area has been under some form of preservation since 1938, and became a game reserve in 1965. At that time, hunting was not permitted in game reserves, therefore this activity was stopped. In 1990/1991 the Ugalla Game Reserve was elevated to the status of a “National Project”, to be administered by the Wildlife Division rather than at the district level. The drainage system comprised of the famous Ugalla and Walla Rivers, which confluence at Senga 1 and flow from east to west through the reserve to the Malagarasi River. Away from the river, the reserve is characterized by open Miombo woodland, which is in places interspersed with some grassland areas (mbuga). During the rains, much of the reserve is inaccessible due to extensive flooding, while in the dry season Ugalla forms a haven for much of the game from surrounding areas. The river stops flowing during the dry season, forming large pools which remain throughout the year. These are home to hippos and crocodiles, and provide year-round water for other game (for example elephant, buffalo, sable, impala and topi) that reside around and beyond the Ugalla Ecosystem. The forest reserves of western and southern Tanzania were established to ensure that the valuable timber species Pterocarpus angolensis (‘muninga’), and other species of commercial value such as Pericopsis (Afrormosia) angolensis (‘mbanga’) and Dalbergia melanoxylon (‘mgembe’), could be exploited in a controlled and sustainable manner. However, many of the larger specimens of muninga have been extracted from Ugalla North Forest Reserve, and the profusion of tracks into Ugalla Game Reserve from the north, with evidence of pit- sawing, indicate that this species is being rapidly removed from the northern part of the game reserve. Muninga is also favoured by beekeepers to make log hives which last for many years.


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