Tanzania: Conservation Will Save Jumbos – Experts


Rosemary Mirondo, The Citizen

Date Published

Dar es Salaam — Research shows that tourism revenue lost as a result of the elephant poaching crisis exceeds the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop the decline of elephants in East, Southern and West Africa.

Lead wildlife scientist at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and lead author on the study Dr Robin Naidoo said that while there have always been strong moral and ethical reasons for conserving elephants, not everyone shares this viewpoint.

“Our research now shows that investing in elephant conservation is actually smart economic policy for many African countries,” he said.

Rates of return on elephant conservation in these regions are positive, signalling a strong economic incentive for countries to protect elephant populations.

Poachers kill between 20,000-30,000 African elephants each year for illegal ivory trade, funded by global organised crime syndicates.

(WWF) Tanzania country director, Dr Amani Ngusaru, said the tourism industry in Tanzania depends heavily on the existence of wildlife and protected areas.

She said Tanzania continues to campaign to stop elephant poaching in Tanzania especially in Selous Game Reserve.

Professor Andrew Balmford, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology said that within parks, tourism suffers when elephant poaching ramps up.

He said that comparing lost revenue with the cost of halting declines in elephant populations due to poaching, studies determine that investment in elephant conservation is economically favourable across the majority of African elephants’ range.

Research, undertaken by scientists from the university of Vermont and the University of Cambridge, represents the first continent-wide assessment of the economic losses that the current elephant poaching surge is inflicting on nature-based tourism economies in Africa.