Eviction Threat in Tanzania Turns Pro-trophy Hunting Argument on Its Head
Proponents of trophy hunting say it provides instrumental financial support to local communities. They say this, in turn, facilitates peaceful co-existence between people and wild animals, thereby assisting conservation. However, an unfolding situation in Tanzania is currently turning that argument on its head.
As Mongabay has reported, tens of thousands of Maasai currently face being alienated from their own ancestral lands. The Tanzanian government has proposed to turn 1.5k square kilometres of land in Loliondo into a wildlife corridor and to lease it to an entity called the Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC). This UAE-based company has had a presence in the country since the early 1990s. And it facilitates trophy hunting and tourism by “the country’s royal family and their guests” in Tanzania, according to thinktank the Oakland Institute.
The government previously attempted to evict the Maasai from this same land in 2018. But an injunction granted by East African Court of Justice prohibited it from doing so.
The Oakland Institute has highlighted that the government is planning evictions of the indigenous peoples elsewhere too, in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The government says this is necessary for conservation and has been buoyed by statements from authorities like UNESCO on the issue. But the Oakland Institute’s Anuradha Mittal told Mongabay that the Maasai have a “symbiotic” relationship with wildlife, and that their: