Tanzania: Tz Makes U-Turn in Plans to Harvest Elephant Population


Alvar Mwakyusa, Daily News via All Africa

Date Published
Tanzania has ruled out plans to harvest its elephant population in reserved areas since available figures show that the number of the wild animals has decreased from 134,000 jumbos in the year 2019 to between 50,000 and 60,000 countrywide at present.

The country’s position was made by Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms Mary Masanja, while responding to a supplementary question by Special Seats MP, Ms Tunzo Malapo (CCM) who had suggested depopulating the elephants.

Ms Malapo had suggested that it was high time that the government of Tanzania considered harvesting the wild animals given their negative impact in destroying crops and in some cases killing residents living near reserves areas.

However, the Deputy Minister was categorical that depopulating elephants was not an option at the moment but rather educating people living near the reserves to vacate wildlife corridors for and cultivate crops at least 500 metres from the reserves areas.

Ms Masanja mentioned other alternative measures as construction of new 13 game controlling centres and deployment of 600 game wardens to keep at bay elephants which have been ravaging crops in areas bordering national parks and game reserves.

A number of lawmakers who posed supplementary questions to the government expressed concerns on destruction by jumbos in their respective areas.

They thus challenged the government to take affirmative actions in dealing with the menace.

The MPs include Kilwa North Member of Parliament, Mr Francis Ndalane (CCM), who was the first to complain in his basic question that an elephant had killed one resident in his area but the family of the deceased was yet to be compensated for the loss of their loved one.

The deputy minister responded that delays in payment of compensation for loss of lives or destruction of property were mainly to blame on local government authorities which fail to submit the claims to the ministry on time.

Even after the explanation, several MPs whose constituencies are in areas with wild life reserved areas still challenged the government to take appropriate actions against elephants which have been causing mayhem to residents and their property.

The number of legislators who expressed concerns over the matter included, Mr Rashid Shangazi Mlalo-(CCM), Mr Mwita Getere (Bunda Urban-CCM) and Special Seats MPs Easter Matiko and Easter Bulaya, both from opposition party Chadema, among others. In a related development, Korogwe Rural MP, Mr Timothy Mzava, challenged the government to review the amount of compensation paid for loss of lives and destruction of crops.

The Deputy Minister assured the august House that the government is working on reviewing the legislations and regulations on the same, stating that once required procedures are completed they will be tabled in the National Assembly for amendment.