Tanzanian authorities on Monday vowed stern measures against poachers of elephants, whose population in the east African country has dropped to 100,000 from 130,000 a few years ago.
Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Khamis Kagasheki told a news conference that the government is "very serious in its anti-poaching crusade."
"No stone will be left unturned in the search for poachers," he said, adding that the government will use all its resources in the fight against poaching to save the elephants from extinction.
Kagasheki said poachers blamed for the decimation of elephants in Tanzania were part of a syndicate enjoying support from outside the country, particularly in the thriving markets of animal trophies in Asia.
He said there was a possibility of some government officials could be involved in poaching activities, adding that he had communicated with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) over reports that a senior police official in Arusha was behind the release of some key suspects from outside the country.
Stakeholders in the tourism sector have warned that Tanzania's elephant population was threatened by poaching activities. It is estimated that the country was losing 30 elephants per day or 10, 000 in a year. At the current rate of poaching, it is feared there would be no elephants in Tanzania in 10 years.
It is estimated that of all ivory seized in the ports and airports in the last ten years, one third originated from Tanzania.