A report that shows a staggering decline in Tanzania’s elephant population has been denounced as whitewash.
Natural Resources and Tourism minister Jumanne Maghembe told The Citizen on Friday that the Great Elephant Census (GEC) report was misleading and was undermining government efforts to fight poaching.
“Although I agree that the war on poaching is tough, it is misleading to allude that Tanzania is not seriously waging the war against killers of elephants. We have done a lot and the number of elephants has started increasing not dropping as depicted in the report,” said Prof Maghembe.
While the report cites Tanzania and Mozambique as having the fastest declines in elephant numbers, Prof Maghembe said the study had been overtaken by events.
He explained that new studies indicate that the number of elephants had started stabilising in Tanzania.
“The GEC report has failed to capture the real situation. In fact, the survey is outdated because it was conducted two or three years ago.”
He noted, “The media doesn’t seem to support what we are doing in taming poaching. Recently, two people were convicted of poaching and were jailed for 30 years each in Manyoni. In another case two Chinese nationals were also found guilty of poaching and handed 25-year-jail terms each. They were also ordered to pay $54 million each after completing their jail terms,” he said.
He criticised the local media for failing to report such information and instead picking negative international news about Tanzania.