Do people live in Serengeti National Park
Do people live in Serengeti National Park (living in Serengeti); Serengeti national park is a no resident area from the time the park was gazetted as a national park or protected area in 1951 till now. Before the area was gazetted as a protected area, the Maasai people used to live in the area with their cows and used the area as hunting grounds as well as farming area. The open endless plains of Serengeti were used as a grazing area for the Maasai animals for more than 200 years not until 1892 when Oscar Baumann an Australian visited the area.
Serengeti which was called Siringet by the Maasai locals means the endless plains. After increased dramatic hunting of the lions by the locals as they were protecting their livestock from the predators, this caused great decline of the lions in the area. It’s out of these scenarios that the British decided to make an area a game reserve with only a total area of 800 acres and equivalent to 3.2 square kilometers in 1921 and gained popularity in 1929. After seeing some achievements from the game reserve Serengeti national park was established that is in 1951.
In 1951 the boundaries of the park were clearly marked and in 1959 all the Maasai locals were relocated by the British to the neighboring communities while others were taken to Ngorongoro Conservation Area where they are living with wildlife peacefully. The Maasai continue occupying the Eastern frontiers of Serengeti national park and the western part is densely populated by the growing population of the locals who practice farming and also look after their cattle.
There are seven districts surrounding the Serengeti national park with a population of over 1,733,958 by 1988 while currently the population growth is at about 10%. The main source of livelihood is Framing and livestock rearing. Currently the locals have also adjusted on their life style and adapted other means of survival like bee keeping, running of small budget camps for tourists, cultural tourism and others.
People – Park relationship
Serengeti national park like any other park in Africa faces challenges in their effort to develop, protect and conserve the heritage site through Human to wildlife interactions. Even if there are no direct people settled inside the national park but their actions and impact should not be underestimated. The locals who leave in villages around the park known as the buffer zone areas are the immediate neighbors to the park. The major two local community institutions around Serengeti national park that help to conserve and protect the park status are: Serengeti regional conservation program and community Conservation Services.
These local community authorities have been supported by the Tanzania national Park Authority through direct funding so as to improve their performance and service delivery. This has helped good relationship between the park and locals since 2001 when the locals started benefiting directly from the park.
On the negative note, hunting or poaching is still done around the corridors of Serengeti by the locals around the park. Harvesting wild or bush meat is one of the issues and characters the locals are used to and this affected the increase of some animals in the park. The locals still carry poaching especially for commercial basis like Rhinos, Elephants and others for ivory and other animal products.
The park authority have tried their best to harmonize the relationship between locals and the park through community involvement, education of the locals and introduction of the cultural tours.