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First group of Maasai families leave Ngorongoro Game Reserve

The Maasai in northern Tanzania   -  
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TONY KARUMBA/AFP -

Tanzania

The first group of Maasai families have already left the Ngorongoro Game Reserve in northern Tanzania as part of a voluntary relocation programme launched by the government.

The authorities believe the growing Maasai population has become a threat to wildlife in the Ngorongoro region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where they have lived for over a century.

The relocation programme is being described by human rights activists as "evictions".

According to figures released by the Arusha regional authorities 296 families have signed up to move to the Handeni region, 600km to the south.

Since 1959, the Maasai population living in Ngorongoro has grown from 8,000 to more than 100,000.

The cattle herds have also grown from about 260,000 heads in 2017 to more than a million today. 

The Maasai are an indigenous nomadic and pastoralist tribe occupying large parts of northern, central and southern Kenya and across the border in northern Tanzania.

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