Ivory stock for high-tech monitoring (Tanzania)


BILHAM KIMATI, Tanzania Daily News

Date Published
IVORY stock in Tanzania which has been put beyond economic use, will not be incinerated as safety of the stockpile is electronically guaranteed.
Addressing participants to the workshop focusing on Community Engagement in Wildlife for Conservation in Dar es Salaam on Friday, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu said the reserve would be electronically coded and information shared globally to prevent any trafficking.
“During London Wildlife Conservation Conference last year, President Jakaya Kikwete made it clear that burning the stockpile was not an option.
Fear of being stolen from the ivory strong room is completely ruled out as high-tech monitoring system will be installed under the assistance of the UK government,” Mr Nyalandu explained.
In the strong room, there are tons of ivory, some collected after the animals had suffered natural deaths, while others were confiscated from poachers. A single item (tusk) for example weighed up to 70 kilogrammes measuring ten feet long.
The minister said such unusual pieces would not be burnt to ashes but rather remain a national heritage for future generations to learn about existed giant elephants.
Commenting on decline in wildlife population especially rhino and elephants, the minister spoke about collective efforts by various stakeholders including development partners in supporting conservation efforts.
One of the biggest challenges that call for concerted efforts include encroachment in wildlife corridors and migratory routes, Nyalandu said. “Human activities obstructed the routes initially followed by the animals.
Once blocked, the animals change direction going close to residential areas and destroy crops. We are preparing regulations to better manage wildlife corridors and dispersal areas,” Mr Nyalandu revealed.
Wildlife routes are under pressure, insisted the minister adding, Selous/ Mikumi corridor for example elephant population dropped from 38,975 in 2009 to 13,084 in 2014.
Livestock pressure on conserved land remained another challenge on top of encroachment of wildlife corridors, as human activities expand amid rapid population growth that fueled wildlife conflicts countrywide.
Giving an overall picture of poaching crisis, the minister said despite recently recorded achievements in control measures, the predicament was far from over.
Patrol-man days increased and a total of 1,763 kilogramme of ivory were impounded in 2014 and 133 kilos seized since January 2015.
It was revealed that between January and December 2014, a total of 1,711 poaching suspects were arrested with 959 cases pending in court with 614 accused persons facing charges in court.
With regard to ongoing negotiations with the government of Mozambique on the urge for joint wildlife conservation operations, the minister said the signing ceremony of the bilateral agreement would be preceded by a meeting later this year, to safeguard the famous animal migratory route between Selous Game Reserve and Niasa in Mozambique.
However, empowering the local communities to enable them undertake wildlife management activities was the vital agenda in conjunction with strengthening of inter-agencies partnership cooperation.
Promotion of public private people’s partnership was equally essential for the growth of the tour industry. Among the participants was Robert Nyampiga, a board member of the National Environmental Coalition Network who requested the government to make sure those communities near wildlife conservation areas benefit from the resources in their proximity.
“There are moments you (ministry) decide to undertake thinning (reduce) animals. It feels good if local communities enjoy the portion, which will serve as incentive to wildlife conservation. Local wildlife conservation councils can be established for close supervision of activities,” Nyampiga explained.