All 16 national parks in Tanzania will be delineated and their boundaries marked with beacons by January 31 in an effort to prevent encrochment and poaching, the Daily News newspaper reported.

Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Jumanne Maghembe announced the decision while inaugurating the new Board of Trustees of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), explaining that he had already issued directives to relevant authorities regarding the demarcation of the national parks.

“Our country is facing a new type of poaching — and this is the latest wave of people driving livestock into conservation areas, annexing parts of game parks and reserves for agriculture and illegal harvesting of firewood, logs and trees from forests,” said Maghembe.

He said it was time the parks, game and forest reserves had their boundaries clearly marked to avert conflict. Tanzania has a total of 16 national parks, more than 20 game and marine reserves and a number of conserved forests.

Together they form 37 per cent of the total area of the country’s land under protection. The country boasts nearly one million square kilometres of territorial land.

“We are also facing land and territorial conflicts between conserved areas and surrounding villages whose residents need land for farming, grazing, housing and even mining,” said the new TANAPA board chairman George Waitara.