NEWS 2007


Hadza hunters-gatherers under threat

The Washington Post reports on the Hadza hunter-gatherers, 14. June 2007

50,000 Years of Resilience May Not Save Tribe

Tanzania Safari Deal Lets Arab Royalty Use Lands

YAEDA VALLEY, Tanzania - One of the last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers on the planet is on the verge of vanishing into the modern world.

The transition has been long underway, but members of the dwindling Hadzabe tribe, who now number fewer than 1,500, say it is being unduly hastened by a United Arab Emirates royal family, which plans to use the tribal hunting land as a personal safari playground.

The deal between the Tanzanian government and Tanzania UAE Safaris Ltd. leases nearly 2,500 square miles of this sprawling, yellow-green valley near the storied Serengeti Plain to members of the royal family, who chose it after a helicopter tour.

A Tanzanian official said that a nearby hunting area the family shared with relatives had become “too crowded” and that a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family “indicated that it was inconvenient” and requested his own parcel.

The official, Philip Marmo, called the Hadzabe “backwards” and said they would benefit from the school, roads and other projects the UAE company has offered as compensation…

The long-run threat to the Hadza is habitat loss. Tanzania has for many years had one of the fastest growing human populations in the world, and the Hadza have lost land from encroachment by farmers and the destruction of woodlands. Ironically, what caused the destruction of one forest was the demand for charcoal from the neighboring Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The actions of the Abu Dhabi royal family may or may not threaten the Hadza’s livelihood, but obviously some Hadza believe it does. What the Hadza need are clear and well-defined property rights to their land, including rights to charge tourists and hunters.