Britain on Friday reaffirmed its commitment to working with East African governments in fighting poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
“Only through partnerships among governments and other players, the war on poaching and illegal wildlife trade would be won,” said Matt Sutherland, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Tanzania.
Sutherland said the British government placed a high priority on protecting Tanzania’s unique biodiversity, and that doing so was good for the environment, the economy and for social development within the country.
He spoke in the east African nation’s tourist city of Arusha during talks with the Director General of Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), Allan Kijazi, shortly after the British envoy handed over laptops to help with better collection and use of data and intelligence.
“We are delighted to be part of the Tanzania government’s efforts to fight illegal poaching,” said Sutherland, adding: “By bringing together information and intelligence, TANAPA can tackle criminal networks, identifying trends and patterns in behavior to ensure they are one step ahead of poachers.”
He said working together with neighboring countries will ensure that criminal networks cannot exploit borders for their own gain.
The handover of laptops marked the completion of two rounds of regional training involving conservation officials from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
The training was facilitated by The British Peace Support Team (BPST) based in Kenya. BPST is part of the British Army which coordinates and delivers peace support training across the Eastern African region.
In June 2015, the government of Tanzania released an elephant population estimate from a country-wide aerial survey which showed that the elephant population has declined by 60 percent since 2009.
A 2014 elephant census showed that the country has a total elephant population of 43,521, compared to the 2009 census where there were 109,051 elephants in the East African nation.