The government has submitted a special request to a United Nations council responsible for controlling illegal wildlife trade, pushing for permanent and immediate ban of ivory business in the world.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, has said here that it was hard for the country to curb poaching without a combined effort from other international bodies. He was speaking during the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) annual meeting with editors and senior journalists from different media houses.
Prof Maghembe, who was the chief guest at the meeting, pointed out that the demand for government trophies was high in Asia, being sold as an essential commodity in China, further pointing out that the anti-poaching war needed collective efforts.
“Tanzania has discussed the matter with SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries to have a collective stance on the matter,” said the minister.
Tanzania is a member state of the regional bloc with 15 countries namely Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Prof Maghembe said since Tanzania has a big number of elephants, it has become a main target by poachers, noting that the government is determined to control the problem.
He pointed out the measures already taken by the government as frequent operations that have resulted in the arrest of six kingpins of the illegal trade and that the security agents were still looking for eight others.
Prof Maghembe further noted that the government would introduce stern laws to control the illegal wildlife killings and trade, pointing out that the new laws would facilitate to protect all wild animals. “We recently arrested a suspected poacher with five kilogrammes of crushed horns of rhinos at the Julius Nyerere International Airport.
This demonstrates that poachers have started to use new ways of transporting the government trophies,” he said. Prof Maghembe called on the media to join hands with the government in the war against poaching by revealing the culprits of illegal trade.
TANAPA Director General Allan Kijazi said at the function that the media has a key role to play the war against poaching by revealing those implicated in the problem to facilitate their prosecution.
A Chinese woman nicknamed the “Queen of Ivory” was recently arrested in Dar es Salaam and charged with smuggling at least 706 elephant tusks that authorities say are worth about $2.5 million.
Yang Feng Glan, 66, is thought to be the most notorious ivory trafficker arrested in East Africa in the last decade. She ran a sophisticated supply chain between East Africa and China for about 10 years, Tanzanian authorities say. Many of her suppliers were also arrested.