Tanzania's jumbo elephant population could be wiped out in seven years if poaching continues at current rates, chairman of the parliamentary committee on land, environment and natural resources James Lembeli told the National Assembly on Tuesday (April 30th).
According to the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Tanzania had about 109,000 elephants in 2009, but fewer than 70,000 in 2012.
"If this poaching trend is left unchecked, obviously the elephant population will disappear in the next seven years," Lembeli said, according to Tanzania's The Guardian. "This is a national disaster. The government and its agencies should take serious measures to address the problem."
Lembeli called on the government to review the Wildlife Act of 2009, institute harsher punishments for poachers, hire more game rangers and procure adequate facilities and modern weapons to fight poaching.
To this end, he requested a budget for his committee of almost 75.7 billion shillings ($46.5 million) for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.