A World Treasure in Tanzania Worth Saving

The allegations of forcible evictions of indigenous communities in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in northern Tanzania are spurious and misleading.

The NCA offers a cautionary tale of human settlements in wildlife-protected areas without collective guidelines and enforcement.

The Tanzanian authorities have exercised extraordinary care, compassion, and consideration in resolving a national conservation conundrum with global import.

The NCA as a protected area, recognized as a World Heritage Site, World Biosphere Reserve and Global Geopark, is like no other.

It is home to geologic formations from Pangea before the continents were formed; paleontological records of human evolution going back 4 million years including the earliest footprints of upright walking hominids; and the most magnificent African wildlife including the famed Serengeti migration.

In loose comparison to America, NCA holds the combined attractions of the Yellowstone, Lava Beds, Mesa Verde, Petrified Forest, and Crater national parks.

The NCA, covering 8,292 km2, is bound by the Great Rift Valley to the south and the short grass plains of Serengeti to the north. Its southern rim is marked by the world-famous trio of extinct volcanic craters – Ngorongoro, Olmoti, and Empakai – and unique cloud highland forests.

The Ngorongoro crater is the largest uninterrupted caldera in the world with a base area of 250 km2 surrounded by walls averaging 600 m. It is a veritable garden of Eden teeming with elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, buffalo, antelope, flamingos, cranes, etc.

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