This will be coupled with an increase inter-agency national and international cooperation to fortify wildlife protection as means to restrict poaching.
Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism was briefing the media and heads of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) at a meeting that was held in Dar es Salaam.
It was aimed at seeking support from all stakeholders ranging from public, private and CSOs to improve conservation efforts and ultimately reduce and eliminate poaching.
“With the entire efforts and progress made in conservation through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, a lot more can be done by all stakeholders to ensure protection of the country’s natural resources which is an integral component of our nation’s development,” Nyalandu said.
The meeting was held to discuss the state of conservation in the period between 2012 and 2015.
Also the importance of wildlife conservation and the need to strengthen conservation efforts in Tanzania.
He said wildlife protection remains the responsibility of all similar thinking people.
Nyalandu said as efforts to curb poaching and reinforce wildlife protection continue, the Ministry has increased the number of patrols particularly on Mondays in protected areas from 73,619 in 2012 to 125,124 in 2014.
This has resulted in an increased number of poachers being caught, including confiscation of a large number of firearms confiscated.
Citing an example, Nyalandu said the number court cases related to poaching and which are proceeding has risen from 349 in 2012 to 539 in 2014.
He said the government has managed to conclude a total of 1190 cases from 2012 to date meaning that the investment on patrol is paying-off.
“We have also commissioned a census to give us the current and up to date count of the elephant population,” he said.
He however said the anti-poaching drive continues to face an uphill task due to the fact that there is an increasing demand for ivory.
This has made the ivory trade very lucrative as evidenced by the communities around wildlife protected areas who don’t see tangible benefits from wildlife conservation.
“It is therefore a responsibility for all of us as the government, private sector, civil societies and the people of Tanzania in general to alert one another and to help fight this war in as well as conserving our resources,” he said.
On strategies to boost conservation in the country the minister highlighted among other things; empowering the local communities to enable them to undertake wildlife management activities in their areas, increasing training on law enforcement, operations, prosecution, investigation and intelligence techniques.
In regard to resolutions the minister and CSO’s agreed to increase community engagement in conservation initiatives with the advocating for an increased Public Private Partnership (PPP) replica to ensure that the communities own the conservation agenda and are part and parcel of it.
He further made emphasis on the role of CSOs in conservation efforts and called upon giving of feedbacks and at the same time promising a formalized structure in the future for dialogue and implementation plans.