THE CONTROVERSIAL HUNTING BLOCK

For many months Tanzanian Affairs has been receiving a great deal of information from environmentalists, human rights activists and others concerning the allocation, in 1992, of a large block of land (4,000 sq kms) in Loliondo, Arusha to a game hunting firm. This firm, the Ortello Business Company, is owned by the Deputy Minister of Defence of the United Arab Emirates and his associates, some of whom are believed to be members of the royal family of the UAE. Much of the information alleges that these foreign leaseholders are guilty of various hunting malpractices.

In 2006 some of the Maasai resident in the area were said to have started constructing new biomass farming and bringing in large numbers of cattle during the hunting season. In 2009 it was reported that the government had evicted up to 3,000 Maasai villagers with their cattle.

The original hunting licence has now expired and the company is preparing an application to renew it.

According to the East African, quoting the company, Ortello has been paying its annual dues of $560,000 to the government, plus $150,000 to the villages around the Loliondo Game Controlled Area as well as $109,000 to the Ngorongoro District Council. The article concludes by saying that no other district in Tanzania containing hunting areas received this level of funding for community development from the hunting business.

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