Tanzania will sign a pact with Zambia and Mozambique aimed at stopping elephant poaching, minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Lazaro Nyalandu said on Thursday.
Nyalandu was speaking during a cocktail party organised to congratulate awareness campaign against wildlife poaching in the country, launched earlier in the morning.
Dubbed ‘Wildlife Pride’ he said the awareness campaign is collaborative effort between the government and WildAid and the African Wildlife Foundation Organisation.
The campaign also involved religious leaders and local celebrities like former Miss Tanzania Jacqueline Mengi, artist Ali Kiba, Venessa Mdee and former NBA player Hasheem Thabeet.
Nyalandu, in a speech, noted that the government would soon sign the pact with the two countries to prevent illegal poaching cross border in ivory trade.
The pact would also involve the exchange of suspected criminals involved in illegal ivory trade.
He said some poachers get free access to do illegal business in southern regions of Lindi and Mtwara, Ruvuma and Morogoro located close to the Selous Game Reserve.
Other areas are Mbeya and Iringa, home of Ruaha National Park and Miombo Woodlands.
The Selous as well as Ruaha National Park and Miombo Woodlands have been hideouts for poachers, and the easily escaped through to Zambia and Mozambique and Lake Nyasa bordering Malawi.
The Minister, currently vying for the presidency, said in the Tarangire National Park the population of elephants has increased by 66 per cent. In Serengeti there is an increase of 98 per cent.
As for the Selous, between 2013 and 2014 there has been an increase of 38,200 elephants.
Three envoys whose countries pledged to give support – from the US, Germany and China – attended the event,
In a speech the US Ambassador Mark Childress said joint collaborative efforts are needed to fight illegal ivory trade and the task should not be left the government alone.
Egon Konchanke, the German Ambassador, called on tightened security across, and the government should build public awareness campaign in rural areas.
Meanwhile, the Chinese envoy Lu You Qing was impressed by steps taken by Tanzania to maintain wildlife development.
He pledged his country’s continued support to save the elephant species from extinction. A recent report suggests that Tanzania is the largest source of poached ivory in the world.