Serengeti villagers plead for government help to curb threat of killer crocodiles in Mara River

By Lake Zone Watch Writer

Villagers in Serengeti district living along the Mara River basin have appealed to the government to take urgent measures to tame the menace of killer crocodiles threatening their lives.

Although figures are lacking, reports from the affected villages say several people crossing Mara River from Serengeti district to Tarime district have been killed by the highly dangerous alligators.

Usually, Serengeti villagers cross the Mara River to market places in Tarime district for shopping and getting basic domestic needs or selling their cattle.

It is reported that the act of crossing the river infested with Africa’s biggest crocodiles has seen several people, particularly the elderly and children, succumbing to the lethal predators lurking in the murky waters of the River Mara.

Recently, as of March 28, this year, a 60-year-old man, Grayson Nyangi, of Borenga village in Serengeti district was killed by a crocodile when crossing Mara River, according to the village chairman Henry Maro.

He said the following day the dangerous alligators also killed unspecified number of cows in the same village, sending shockwaves to the villagers on their safety.

“Our people now live in fear because of the increasing crocodile attacks in several villages in Kisaka ward near Mara River,” Maro said when interviewed.

“The villagers hesitate to cross the river to go and sell food items, cattle and buy their basic needs at Tarime market places for fear of being killed by the crocodiles. The government should help us” he added.

Borenga is one of several villages near Mara River whose residents depend on agriculture and livestock keeping as their major occupations. The main market of these villagers for their produce and animals is found in the lucrative market in Tarime district.

For his part, Rashid Bogomba, the Kembambo ward councillor in Tarime district whose villages are near Mara River, claimed, without giving statistics, that the crocodiles had killed and injured “many people”

“These people now plead to the government to harvest the crocodiles and reduce their number in Mara River to save the lives of the people and their livestock,” he said.

Serengeti District Wildlife Officer, John Lendoyan, said there was need for public awarness on the dangers posed by the presence of the alligators in Mara River.

To curb the danger of the killer crocodiles, the government has spelt out such measures as conducting tourist hunting in areas harbouring an excessive number of the predators and harvesting the stubborn animals whenever it receives information of their presence.

Crocodiles in the deep and wide Mara River are some of the longest, well over five metres (18 feet), heaviest (800 kilos) and well-fed animals in Africa.

Mara River significance lies in the fact that it is the main perennial source of water in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, and provides water to more than 1.1 million people and animals including the dry season.

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