Smarter Anti-Poaching Drive on the Horizon (Tanzania)


Tanzania Daily News

Date Published

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has said that the area that is under
conservation is quite vast and that lack of adequate manpower was the
major challenge in antipoaching efforts in the country.
President Kikwete made the remarks on Tuesday when receiving 11
Landrovers from the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) of Germany. The
motor vehicles will be used in fighting poaching in the country. He said
that about 40 per cent of the country’s territory has been set aside for
wildlife and forest conservation.
The area covers approximately 159, 817.02 Sq km out of the total of
945,000 sq km of land. The president added that due to lack of manpower
in conservation, one person protects an area spanning 168 square
kilometres, which is quite wide compared to the International standards
of one person to 25 square kilometres. “The size of the area under
conservation is a challenge. We need more people to do this job.
The current workforce covers only 24 per cent of the actual needs,” he
said, noting that the government has taken steps to employ more
personnel. President Kikwete said the government’s goal is to have all
the 4,000 workers needed on the ground by 2016.
He stressed that the government will need all the support in providing
training and equipment for them. He said tourism is an important sector
for the country’s economy. It contributes 17 per cent to the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 300,000 workers.
The president added that poaching in the country has reached dangerous
proportions, noting that the elephant population has plummeted to 13,084
from around 38,000 in 2009. “This is alarming….we’re scaling up the
anti-poaching campaign.
We have had several campaigns that have also been fruitful, such as
kipepeo and Tokomeza. More than 2,000 suspected poachers have been
arrested and their weapons impounded,” he said. He added that the
campaigns need to be sustained since the problem remains unsolved.
President Kikwete said the government will intensify the fight against
poaching; stressing that the country is determined to stay the course.
He stressed that losing the anti-poaching war is not an option.
The African Director of FZS, Mr Robert Muir, said that the handover of
the 11 motor vehicles symbolises the fruitful partnership between
Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Mr Muir said the donation is a step forward in tackling anti-poaching
challenges that afflict the country. He called upon other international
communities to support the country’s new National Wildlife Strategy,
which contains a clear and comprehensive way forward.
“Only if we join forces can we bring an end to poaching. This is a
battle we cannot afford to lose. The future generation will thank us for
this,” he explained. The Germany Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Hans
Koeppel, said that anti-poaching efforts concern everyone, adding that
with joint efforts, poachers will be pushedback and the conservation
area will be secured. The Head of European Union delegation to Tanzania,
Mr Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, said that the donation will support
wildlife conservation in the country.
He added that the EU supports the country’s new strategy which shows
clear and strong commitment to fight poaching in the country. “This is a
good strategy and the European Union is willing to support it,” he
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism,Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, said
that the five Landrovers will be used in Serengeti, five Land Cruisers
will be used in Selous Game Reserve and one for Maswa Game reserve.
Minister Nyalandu alerted pastoralists in government controlled areas to
ensure the cattle do not graze in conserved areas, adding that once
operation ‘Tokomeza Operations’ begins, the animals and their keepers
will not be spared. The Tanzania National Parks Director General, Mr
Allan Kijazi, welcomed the donation, noting that it will strengthen
government efforts in the anti-poaching drive.

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