Impact of refugees on wildlife habitats and populations in Burigi and Kimisi game reserves, Ngara District, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


The study was conducted in and adjacent to Burigi and Kimisi Game Reserves in Ngara district between October 2006 and January 2007. The main objective of this study was investigating of the impact of refugee in the areas. Specifically, the study was to; i) determine anthropological activities leading to environmental degradation before and after refugees living in the study area, ii) Evaluate changes in wildlife population before and after refugees living in the study area, iii) Assess the changes in wildlife habitat before and after refugees living in the study area. Questionnaire survey, focus group discussion with key informants and participant observations were used in colleting primary data. Secondary data collection was done through review of different publications and reports. Satellite imageries were also employed as sources of secondary information. Simple correlation analysis was used in analysing information on the impact of refugees on wildlife populations. ERDAS Imagine and Arc View 3.1 GIS software were employed to analyse changes in wildlife habitats before and after influx of refugees in the study areas. Seven anthropological activities that lead to environmental degradation in the study area were identified namely; farming, settlements, poaching, bush fire, trees cutting, grazing and encroachment. The populations of eight species of large mammal were negatively significantly impacted by refugees’ activities which led to the decrease of these populations. These species include buffalo (Syncerus caffer), bushbuck (Tragelaphus sciptus), eland (Taurotragus oryx), Bohor reedbuck (Renduca renduca), topi (Damliscus lunatus), warthog (Phacochoerus africanus), waterbuck (Kobus defassa) and zebra (Equus burchellii). Results from GIS analysis indicated that four wildlife habitats were impacted by refugees namely; i) Riverine forest ii) Woodlands iii) Scrubland and iv) Grasslands. There was a differential decrease in vegetation cover for riverine forests and woodlands. Similarly, barelands/rocky areas increased with the increase in number of refugees in the influxed areas. From these results, it was concluded that refugees and their associated activities have negative impact on wildlife habitats and populations. It was recommended that refugees’ camps should be established at least 30 km from protected areas boundaries. Alternative sources of proteins for refugees should be established. A wide range of stakeholders should be involved in addressing issues of refugees including rehabilitation of the degraded areas and the use of satellite images for resource monitoring and assessment.



Refugees, Wildlife Habitats, Ngara District,


Masalu,F.I(2008)Impact Of Refugees On Wildlife Habitats And Populations In Burigi And Kimisi Game Reserves, Ngara District, Tanzania. Morogoro;Sokoine University of Agriculture