Inauguration of Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) will go a long way to strengthen efforts in protecting and conserving wildlife in the country, as it is charged with the task to build capacity for quick and timely response to wildlife challenges.
“You (TAWA) have the powers to hire competent paramilitary personnel and other supporting staff for guaranteed safety of wildlife. Efforts must be well coordinated to avoid deployment of the army as it happened in the past.
You need to train people from the national service camps for example, in order to form a formidable, highly disciplined and well-paid incorruptible force,” Mr Kikwete directed. “Serious execution of duties in conservation and protection of wildlife involves action and not empty promises. Hundreds of species of animals and birds have disappeared from their natural habitats due to human activities.
These include illegal hunting, wild fires, charcoal making and cultivation. It is important that restoration of the natural habitation becomes a reality,” he observed. However, the president did not play down the arduous task of fighting poaching and other related wildlife protection setbacks. He therefore asked TAWA not to dwell on claims that poachers are heavily armed. “Get better weapons to deal with poachers.
Those killed in a fire exchange is unfortunate but never kill suspects who arrested alive, bring them to justice as extra-judicial killing is not acceptable. TAWA will cover 159,778 square kilometres and this is not a small matter,” he said. “Wildlife conservation requires dedication and competence.
In the early 1960s there were more than 350,000 elephants in the country. The number dropped to 50,000 in the 1970s, the situation that called for ‘Operation Uhai’ in 1979,” Mr Kikwete said. President Kikwete reiterated the need for the international community to help stop trade in ivory as the external demand propels poaching in countries of origin.
Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu said TAWA with its headquarters in Morogoro was tasked with a number of obligations including reshaping wildlife management and conservation.
According to Mr Nyalandu, more than 500 conservators would be hired in the next fiscal year to bridge the gap. There has been a shortage of staff in the sector and this is the country’s way of solving that problem, he said.
“Employment of highly skilled wildlife conservators is important as we establish this authority whose vision is to become a centre of excellence in wildlife law enforcement. Special gratitude to the government of Germany for ardent support to the Tanzania wildlife.
“Wildlife conservation has encountered a number of challenges, from poaching to massive destruction of natural resources which will be addressed adequately,” Mr Nyalandu said.
The minister also announced suspension of resident hunting for two years from now to control consumption of game meat that has exceeded the permitted quota. However, he expressed disappointment against Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) for delaying authorisation of an already concluded deal on commercial adverts ‘Tanzania the Soul of Africa’ with CNN and BBC to promote tourism for increased number of tourists from 1.1 million annually to 5 million by 2020.
German Ambassador, Mr Egon Kochanke pledged continued support to Tanzania wildlife by his government to help reverse the trend of poaching that hit both local and international headlines.
“Germany will continue to be a strong partner of TAWA in training and shared expertise and one of our colleagues will shift to Morogoro headquarters to work closely with the team,” Ambassador Kochanke said.
The Permanent Secretary (PS) to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Adelhem Meru, named Mr Martin Loiboki as the interim Director General of TAWA with other eleven board members under the chairmanship of Major General (retired) Hamis Semfuko.