The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, made the remarks over the weekend during a meeting to discuss the state of conservation in 2012-2015, the importance of wildlife conservation and the need for strengthened conservation efforts in the country.
“With all the efforts and progress made in conservation through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, a lot more can be done by all the stakeholders to ensure the protection of the country’s natural resources which is an integral component of our nation’s development,” said Mr Nyalandu.
Mr Nyalandu explained that saving wildlife and wilderness was the responsibility of all the people and that they have succeeded in increasing the number of patrol man-days in protected areas from 73,619 in 2012 to 125,124 in 2014, which had resulted in an increased number of poachers captured and firearms confiscated.
He noted that the number of poaching court cases being processed had risen from 349 in 2012 to 539 in 2014 and they had managed to process a total of 1190 cases from 2012 to date, adding that the investment in patrol man-hours was paying off.
The government had also commissioned a census to give them the most up-to-date count of the elephant population. “We continue to face a huge poaching challenge due to increasing lucrative demand for ivory,” said the minister, adding that the communities around these wildlife areas don’t see tangible benefits from wildlife conservation.
“It is therefore upon all of us, as the government, private sector, civil societies and the people of Tanzania in general, to educate one another and to help fight this war in conserving our natural resources,” he noted.
On strategies to boost conservation in the country, the minister highlighted among other things, empowering the local communities to enable them to undertake wildlife management activities in their areas, while increasing staff training on law enforcement, operations, prosecution, investigation and intelligence techniques.
He said his ministry was planning to recruit and deploy 500 rangers and 111 Wildlife officers by July 2015 to undertake wildlife protection and also strengthen inter-agencies cooperation at national and international level.
“We plan to work with other ministries and relevant authorities across sectors to further strengthen our efforts in ensuring that communities understand the benefits they can reap through conservation and what it all entails for the country’s development and future prosperity of our nation.” He further stated.