Local people driven off their land on the edge of protected reserves by their own government

In many countries around the world, on the creation of protected reserves, the local indigenous population were given reserves of their own (bordering the new national parks). The intention of this was to allow these people to continue living as they have for millennia.

In countries where many tourists go to see animals in the wild, these human reserves often have high amounts of game, but falling outside the reserve, the restrictions on what can be done in them is far looser.

The area around Numbi gate in the Kruger National Park,  is one such area. It is in theory tribal land, but the tribal chief did a deal with a tourism company so now there are camps instead. The tribal leader lives in a lovely large local house, but the rest of the tribe lost their homes and way of life with no compensation. The lucky ones work in this area and make a living, but this is not what the land was for.

In Tanzania, there is something similar going on, but here it is instigated by the government. Maasai herders have lost land that was given to them, and been forced to leave. Furthermore, as the companies operating are not local, tribal people have no higher chance of getting work as anyone else. In an address that borders the Serengeti, hundreds of homes have been burnt, and tens of thousands of people have been pushed off their land, to make way for rich tourists.

Often these evictions are claimed to be in the name of conservation, but the effect on wild animals by tribal communities is local and fully manageable (they have coexisted for millennia), whereas the effect of unregulated tourism is often huge and permanent.

In one report,  Thompson came and built a tourist camp, right in the middle of a village and then blocked access to those who lived there. They also often are accused of blocking access to seasonal water.

Due to the government’s support, evictions and blocks are generally carried out by the police, which makes it harder to fight against it.

Maasai have not taken these attacks lying down,  and a middle eastern hunting outfit had its hunting licence revoked,  but authorities are divided. The concern is that these local Maasai, having had their land stolen, and their rights to grave livestock removed,  will starve or leave. It would be a dark mark on the current authorities if having survived the formation of the Serengeti, they were eradicated now.

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