Germans boost Tanzania’s anti-poaching push


Elisha Mayallah, East African Business Week

Date Published
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ARUSHA, TANZANIA – The German government has donated two aircraft to the government for reinforcing the fight against poaching activities in protected areas.

German Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier last week handed over a symbolic key for two Husky aircrafts to the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) respectively.
Allan Kijazi, the TANAPA Director General said the planes would boost the joint operations by the German government through the Frankfurt Zoological Society, TANAPA and TAWA to tackle poaching in the protected areas.
 The Husky A-1C, according to a press release, is an ideal plane for monitoring and anti-poaching surveys as it operates at low heights and slow speeds-similar to that of a helicopter. It has proven long-term success rate for its use in finding poacher’ camps and recording GPS positions for follow-up actions by teams on the ground.
 The Huskies will be used to monitor two of Tanzania’s elephant hot spots, Selous Game Reserve and Serengeti National Park.
According to the most recent elephant census, Tanzania lost around 85,000 elephants to poaching between 2009 and 2014. 
Wildlife conservationists say that the massive Chinese demand for ivory fuels poaching in Africa, and a report by World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong last month said Hong Kong, is the world’s largest retail ivory market.
Another census of the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem, one of the country’s biggest wildlife sanctuaries, indicated that the elephant population has plummeted 66% from 38,975 in 2009 to just 13,084 today.
TANAPA is a custodian of 16 national parks scattered across the country with its head office in Arusha while the TAWA is the newly established entity charged with the responsibility of fighting poaching in the game reserves. It is now based in Morogoro, central Tanzania.
TAWA was launched in October 2015 focusing on conservation and improved protection of wildlife and increasing their numbers.
The launch was attended by the German Ambassador, Egon Kochanke who promised continued support to Tanzania wildlife conservation efforts especially reducing poaching.
Tanzania is home to some of the most populous elephants and rhinos on the planet, but in the recent years it has experienced a severe threat from a massive poaching activities.
In late October Boniface Matthew Mariango, 45, nicknamed ‘The Devil’ or ‘Shetani’ (in Kiswahili), was arrested by the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU).
Mariango, an ivory kingpin of East Africa, managed over 15 poaching syndicates in Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique and southern Kenya with impunity for years, and is directly responsible for the killing of thousands of elephants.
 NTSCIU is the law enforcement body that was also responsible for the arrest of the infamous ‘Queen of Ivory’ Yang Feng Glan earlier this month.
Frankfurt Zoological Society has made long-term commitments for the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in the last great wilderness areas on earth. FZS is committed to the protection of areas that are strongholds for elephants and rhinos, including some of the largest and most important savannah areas in Africa. 
FZS places particular emphasis on working with local partners to identify and implement locally relevant solutions to conservation problems.
FZS has taken part in animal counts in Serengeti National Park since the Founder of FZS, Professor Bernhard Grzimek, came in 1959 to first count the wildebeest herds. On-going support for aerial surveys has been made possible with the FZS aircraft and technical team over the year.