Members of the public have been requested to volunteer information on the presence of poachers in their communities, so as to curb wanton killing of wild animals at Ruaha National Park. Addressing security and peace committee officials from Chamwino and Iringa Rural districts last Friday, Iringa Regional Commissioner, Dr Christine Ishengoma and her Dodoma peer, Dr Rehema Nchimbi, said the fight against poaching cannot succeed if communities don't take part in the exercise.
Dr Ishengoma said there is need to adopt a Big Results Now style in the battle against poachers saying apart from use of force to stop the vice, sensitization is also required.
"We should breed a generation of conservation activists who will stand against our current generation of poachers," she argued saying animals such as elephants, rhinos are being poaching for their trophies. Dr Nchimbi said many people are ignorant that conservation is important for human health and clean and development.
"These wild animals and the conservation areas have a role in climate change mitigation because they help suck carbon dioxide from the air," she argued.
Ruaha National Park Chief Park Waden, Dr Christopher Timbuka said leaders from the two districts formed a joint plan of action on how to reign in poachers. Dr Timbuka pointed out that while the rate of elephants poaching is slightly reducing in his area, there is still a lot of work to be done because of proliferation of traditional weapons in the two districts.
"Cattle rustlers go through Ruaha National Park while many poachers are from the two districts and you know some of them, let's jointly identify and stop them," Dr Timbuka noted.
He added that some people in the two districts own muzzle loaders which are even licensed by district councils are legitimate weapons contrary to the law.
"It's very difficult to stop these poachers if they have licensed weapons paid for at district councils," he pointed out. He said the recent Operation Tokomeza has had a positive impact against poaching and wants it to be sustainable.