Other Values of National Parks

Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Arusha National Park, Tanzania

Creation of opportunity to generate revenue through tourism might be the most obvious reason why governments establish national parks. Other reasons are equally important. Arguably, such reasons can be more important.

Consider Arusha National Park for reference in that regard. The park is located in Northern Tanzania, 60 km (35 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport and 40-minutes drive from Arusha City.

By definition, a National Park in Tanzania is a protected area managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation. The definition prohibits consumptive use of natural resources other than water harvesting for drinking.

Water originating from the park can be used for irrigation or generation of electricity outside the park. Reports indicate that factories and more than one million people depend on Arusha National Park for their various water requirements.

The government of Tanzania established Arusha National Park partly for its aesthetics or rather beauty. The park covers Mount Meru which is a marvel to watch from Arusha City particularly while driving or walking uphill along Goliondoi Road. Plus, it is possible to watch the snows of Kilimanjaro from the park on a clear day.

Geologic formations, abundance and variety of animals are an icing to the beauty of the park. Management has recorded ten different species of a group of animals called amphibians; ecologists have recorded 36 species that belong to a group of animals called reptiles. The park harbours 493 species of birds. Other animals that exist in the park are 72 species of mammals and 13 species of butterflies. The park is quite rich in animal life despite its small size.

Arusha Park
Arusha Park

Other reports inform that the government has recently introduced canoeing safaris on Momella Lakes in Arusha National Park as a form of recreation. Not to forget that Arusha National Park is famous for Mountain Climbing as a form of fitness therapy.

Government officials establish national parks because they are obliged to ensure that other living things exist as their basic right. For example, a species of chameleon called Mount Meru three-horned chameleon exist only in Arusha National Park and nowhere else in the world. Guilty consciousness prevails for those responsible for making an animal species disappear from the earth forever.

Governments create jobs when they establish National Parks. Arusha National Park employs more than 100 people full time. Hotels, lodges and tour operators that are associated with the park employ more people. Jobs are in the form of hotel and lodge management, chefs, attendants, tour guides, porters and drivers.

Governments value development based on research and innovation. The high diversity of groups of animals called amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in Arusha National Park provides the basis for learning and copying various development techniques from nature based on a growing body of study called biomimicry. The goal of bio-mimicry is to take a “design” or “idea” from nature, and attempt to mimic or emulate it as a means of addressing human problems.

For example, medical scientists mimic how tiny animals called bivalves use a naturally-emitted adhesive or “glue”. The animals use the “glue” to stick to rocks in order to withstand strong ocean currents and remain anchored in place.

On their part, medical scientists mimic the chemical makeup of that sticky substance, and develop special sealant. The scientists hope to use it to repair perforations or ruptures in the fetal membrane which cause body fluids to leak and birth defects to occur in unborn babies. In recent findings, the mussel-inspired glue gave the best results for all study groups with regard to both bond strength and safe toxicity levels in patients.

Other examples of biomimicry include new ways to manufacture concrete developed from studying coral reefs, highly-efficient wind turbines modeled on the shape of whale flippers, and entirely new approaches of creating color inspired by butterflies. All such benefits are possible when natural areas like Arusha National Park exist.