Tanzanian police arrest poacher for killing four Katavi elephants



Date Published
Tanzanian police on Tuesday arrested a man for allegedly killing four elephants at Katavi National Park.

Katavi Regional Police Commander, Dhahiri Kidavashari said a man who was identified as Nzuri Ndizu of Mbede village in Mlele District, Katavi Region was also found with eight tusks weighing 50 kgs worth 60,000 US dollars.

The regional police chief said the tusks came from four elephants which were killed in the wilderness of the Tanzania’s western national park established in 1974.

He said in a telephone interview that the suspect was arrested on Monday at around 9pm.

“The suspect was arrested following the police operation to nab all suspected poachers and illegal hunters in the region,” the official said.

According to RPC Kidavashari, police were still interrogating the suspect so as to get the entire elephant killings syndicate before taking him to court.

The incident came barely a few days before three people were arrested in Aiter Street in Mpanda, who were in possession of 12 pieces of elephant tusks, a move that shows that poaching is still rampant in Katavi Region.

Like the case in all other national parks in the country, poaching is a problem in Katavi.

Other illegal activities, including unauthorized hunting, snaring of wildlife, felling of trees and theft of live animals also continue despite protective patrols.

Poachers target large mammals such as elephants, rhino for ivory trade and other wild animals including buffaloes and leopards.

The situation is compounded by the presence of undesirable elements among the refugee population in camps in Mpanda, Kigoma and Tabora.

The refugees are notorious for selling fire arms, particularly sub-machine guns, to poachers, according to regional wildlife authorities.

The refugees, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi, smuggle military fire arms from combat zones in their countries into Tanzania.

Apart from the havoc wrought by notorious poachers, the management of Katavi has other sticky problems.

The park has too few working facilities such as motor vehicles while existing vehicles are old, inefficient and costly to repair.