Tanzanian conservationists alarmed over invasive killer weeds in crater

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Tanzanian conservationists at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in the country’s northern region of Arusha on Monday expressed worries over the spread of an invasive killer weed scientifically known as Gutenbergia cordifolia.

Hillary Mushi, the NCA Wildlife and Range Management Manager, said the killer invasive weed has now found its way inside the crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world.

Mushi said almost 40 percent of the crater had been infested with the invasive species, making wildlife experts to spend sleepless nights as they pondered ways to combat it.

Mushi described the invasion of the weeds as a serious threat as it suppressed the growth of plants mostly preferred by herbivorous in inside the crater.

He said the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) had slashed 1,000 acres of land as a way of controlling its further spread.

“We are only limited to using mechanical methods of controlling the invasive weed as opposed to biological methods due to environmental reasons,” said Mushi.

He added: “Through mechanical mowing where we use tractors before the seeds have fully germinated to control its further spread.”

Mushi said the NCAA spent 70,500 U.S. dollars in the 2016/17 financial year in controlling invasive plants and other weeds inside the crater.

The NCA, together with the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and the Masai Mara National Parks form an ecologically and economically important area and hosts a vast variety of larger mammalian species.

The NCA is home to the big five game of elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino. Huge herds of wildebeests and zebras traverse its plains during their annual migration. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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