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Selous game Reserve to become uranium extraction site

The United Nations World Heritage Committee approved the Tanzania government application to alter the boundaries of Selous Game Reserve. The application was made to enable uranium mining inside the game reserve.

Mantra Tanzania Limited a subsidiary of a uranium mining company in Toronto, Canada will be undertaking the mining project in Selous. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tanzania Wildlife Division.

According to the MoU mantra Tanzania agreed to work with and support the ministry of tourism in the fight against poaching which has is a problem in many parks in Tanznina, but especially in the southern part of Selous Game Reserve. Mantra Tanzania limited will be investing US$800,000 on anti poaching initiatives and developing of new concepts and ideas to stop poaching in Selous Game reserve and in Tanzania. The company is ready to start with a number of initiatives such as providing game scouts uniforms, equipment and vehicles, communications, navigation, training in bush craft and counter poaching tactics. The investment in anti poaching activities will include provision of aerial surveillance using light sport aircraft or gyrocopters and a few experiments with unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with night vision cameras, video transmitters and global positioning system navigation.

According to Mr. Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania’s minister for natural resources and tourism, the government has marked off a 350km area Lion cubs in Selousinside the game reserve where the uranium mining will take place. The mine is expected to produce 139 tons of uranium and about 60 million tons of poisonous radioactive waste.

Selous Game Reserve is found in the southern Tanzania Safari Circuit. It was established as a protected are in 1896. The reserve is one of the largest protected wildlife habitats in the world. It covers an area of 50,000 sq. km with varied landscape and vegetation. It has forests, riverine thickets, steppes and mountain ranges and has a vast population of wildlife. It is truly an African wilderness hardly disturbed by human activity, until now with the uranium mining. Wildlife in Selous includes about 70,000 elephants, more 500,000 antelopes, more 120,000 buffaloes, about 2000 large carnivores, cheetahs, black rhinos, hippos, elephants, crocodiles, and so many more.

Apart from the uranium mining, there is another plan to build a dam on River Rufiji which will also add to the human disturbance on the reserve, not to mention the rampant poaching that has been going in Tanzania. The park has had quite a number of its elephants killed in the poaching scourge that the government of Tanzania is doing everything it possibly can to bring to a end.