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The "Curse" can I make a difference

melbourne
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for Tanzania
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The "Curse" can I make a difference

Some years ago a lodge near Tarangire was set alight, and then burnt down by a professional hunter from Texas, a person died in that fire. The hunter was seen setting the grass on fire. This incident was eventually swept under the carpet by the then DC from Monduli.The same professional hunter months later threatened a tourist at gunpoint as she was entering one of the lodges near Tarangire. That hunter disappeared from Tz. for some months. He is now back and business as usual. At lolilondo with the hunting concession owned by Arab interests ( the use of the word Arab is not used in any racial or derogotory manner purely as a means of easy identification) there is a lot at stake here. Money from the UAE is being used to fund much needed infrastructure around Dodoma.Most hunters are rich influential people hence they have influence. The Masaii those dispossed or forcibly moved off the Arab hunting concession are small fry in the greater scheme of things rightly or wrongly. It is difficult for the normal tourist visiting tanzania to understand the complex issues involed in hunting or the enormous amounts of money involved. As such you can't make a difference. If the World Wildlife Fund and Frankfurt Zoological society couldnt stop the hunting,just shows you how entrenched the Wildlife dept. is in Tanzania.

Now Thomson safaris is another example, I can as an ethical traveller not use that company if I choose not to.

What have they done wrong, probably not much. After 30 mears of operating in tanzania they decided to reinvest some of their profits, here they get a tick. Bought Gibbs farm invested more than a million dollars. The governement wants tourist investment.another tick.

Bought a piece of land of Tanzanian breweries with a title deed ( long term lease) pretty inviolate in Tanzania. Wanted to set up their own private game reserve.Others have done it why couldnt they. However what they didnt realise or choose to ignore was the fact that this land had been idle for years and the Masaii as they do moved in to graze their cattle,sheep, and goats. Thomson or the ground managers if they had of been more sensitative to local conditions would've realised that there were other issues involved and the Masaii did have rights. Afterall they had been there for more than 100 years. All Thomson had to do was sit down with them, the Masaii, negotiate allow then some grazing rights even if a little and then the issue wouldnt have got out of hand. However they used the rough arm of the law to protect what their saw as their legal right. Somewhat insensitive. Here they get a cross.

They get another x from me because of what they have done in the Ikoma area. Lets not be fooled here.

Thomson set up a trust whereby tourists contribute to their projects, not a bad idea others do it. where they went wrong in my opinion here is with the good will they have gained from other peoples money they approached the village and got land to put up their camp in the area.I doubt if profits from the company where used here.

Philanthropic no acquiring assests for the benefit of the shareholders yes.

Can you make a difference here with the Hunting companies doubt it by not using Thomson safaris you can if you wish express your dissapointment at their insensitiveness towards the local community and make a difference albeit a small one.

Australia
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1. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

I should have went to Kenya instead...

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

Life is full of choices which we either make or reject based on our ability to do so. We, in the so called developed world, have resources that enables us to make choices that may be more expensive but are more ethical in our mind.

So that is what we do. We put our money where our conscience may dictate. That is our strength.

Sadly others, often the victims of corrupt governments and/or their paymaster companies, cannot.

So to correct this imbalance WE must strive even harder to make our tourist $$ count! One way, the best way, is to publicly patronise those firms who have a proven track record in assisting the local community see a tangible benefit from the income generated by toursim and, in this particular case, the wildlife we go to admire.

And ostracise those outfits that do not have such a policy.

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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3. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

noexpert... You mentioned infrastructure development being funded by UAE interests in Dodoma. I was in Dodoma several weeks ago and heard that there was UAE funding for the University of Dodoma being built there (very large scale, and very much needed).

However, I went around to all the buildings being constructed and looked at their construction notices posted trying to find out who was doing all this funding. All I could see on the boards were funding provided by NSF (Social Security Fund) and PPF (Parastatal Pension Fund). Rumors had it that the funding was from a UAE Crown Prince and some funding from Gates Foundation for the Infromatics campus. But you know how rumors are there.

Whoever is funding this has very deep pockets. The cost on this has to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. There have been over 100 large buildings constructed in the past 2 years and they probably have about 1/3 of the buildings completed that they will eventually have. According to the administrators who I talked with at the University they are anticipating a student population of 100,000. Construction is expected to continue until 2012.

Have you heard who was funding this? Is this the infrastructure you were eluding to?

If this funding is being done by those involved on the private reserves you are referring to in the Serengeti, then one could forget trying to do something about this; that money cannot be matched and it bought influence.

However, if Thomson was heavy handed (they've been at this a long time and should have known better then that) with the locals, then they should be put on ignore.

When I was involved in acquiring some land there, I spent a lot of time in the villages, brought in a lot of Cokes for our meetings with the village people, and sat in on very long meetings.

scotland
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4. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

I hate and detest the of wildlife for FUN!! I have never been able to understand what people get out of shooting a beautiful defenceless animal. Even the bravest, strongest animal has no chance against a Man (or woman) with a gun. This is NOT sport. These people are SAD, INADEQUATE, BULLIES, usually with enough money to do what they like! If they want to feel brave how about a spot of Diving with Great Whites or swimming with Crocks!!!

However I am a realist and know the power of money, particularily to a poor country. Can we make a difference I would like to think so but sadly I think it unlikely.

What worries me is the effect hunting will have on the Tourist on Safari whatever lodge they choose to stay at. The two cannot possibly run side by side in the same areas. We experience this in the Kliens concession and apart from it being very distressing, as has proved recently at Kliens it will effect the working of the Lodge. A danger to guests and of course the animals will become scared and unpredicable.

Can I make a difference ....please someone tell me how!!

melbourne
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5. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

There was a pretty good report about Lolilondo and the hunting company Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC) on the 10.09.09 by Florence Mugarula in the Citizen newspaper printed in Dar es Salaam. As you can see if you read it. The issue of hunting companies very much affects Tanzanians as well and many are agitating to stop it.However the money involved is huge.The government is trying to manage much needed development (Dodoma) against the rights of a few pastoralist. For those who want to make a small difference I wouldn't use operators, lodges etc that are associated with hunting companies. However would you send your child to the new university in Dodoma.Yes the money to build that university is money generated from the sale of oil. and not all citizens of the UAE are hunters like to one who patronises Lolilondo.

Australia
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6. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

China funds infrastructure developments in countries it wants to steal, I mean gather resources from. It's a classic way of trying to come out the good guy while your real intentions are far from ideal.

Sheffield, United...
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7. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

Hi, a lot of African countries seem to be sleepwalking into re-colonisation, this time by the Chinese. Kenya, tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, all have multi billion $ projects in the pipeline, all tied in with various forms of resource "development", for whose benefit?

Ivan

Boston
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8. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

noexpert - As a long-standing employee of Thomson, I just wanted to clear up some misinformation that's out there:

You mention that we "used the rough arm of the law" and I can assure you this is not true. I have read insinuations that we are somehow in league with "the law" who is committing brutal acts on the local people on our behalf. This is unequivocally false. This rumor, which began 18 months ago, has never been substantiated with a single shred of evidence. It hasn't been and will never be substantiated because it simply isn't true.

You also suggest that we have done something wrong at Ikoma? I have no idea what you are referring to.

Also, I'm concerned about all the discussions about hunting. We are not a hunting company and never have been. We have nothing to do with OBC and their activities. Please note that there are several other companies with a similar name - one based out of the UK and one based in South Africa - who do provide hunting. We do not.

Thanks for letting me clarify these points!

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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9. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

ThomsonSafarisIna.... Thank you for any clarification on this matter. As a businessman I know how hard it is to defend oneself against unethical smear campaigns. If this reporter did not gather the facts in this case and practiced sloppy journalism, or even worse had an ulterior or hidden motive, then he is guilty of the greater offense and should be put out of business.

I know it's tough to do but perhaps a slander suit should be considered, at the least he could be unmasked in court.

Perhaps in the meantime you might watch the Paul Newman movie "Absence of Malice" and think about what to do with people who make inappropriate judgments which end up hurting others.

Goa
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10. Re: The "Curse" can I make a difference

Well said Karl. Personally I dont like this topic at all and have refrained from commenting on the other thread. All we have upto now is hear-say and we are happily dragging the name of this company in the mud. Lets try and give these guys a break till someone comes up with something concrete to substantiate these allegations please !