By Apolinari Tairo
TANZANIA (eTN) - Against the backdrop of an escalating poaching of elephants in Africa, China has expressed its commitment to do a needful in the war against wanton killings of African wildlife and supporting the ban of bloody ivory trade.
Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania Dr. Lu Youqing had said that his government (China) will provide US$10 million to support wildlife conservation in Africa, as promised by the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiand during his just-ended tour of the African continent.
He said China has been tough on smuggling of bloody ivory, elephant products, and rhino horns, also adopting severe punishment to those apprehended who violate wildlife conservation laws.
In January this year, China crushed 6.1 tons of raw ivory and carved ivory pieces to demonstrate the government’s commitment and determination in fighting illegal trade in bloody ivory, the envoy said.
In Tanzania, he said, China has donated modern inspection facilities for containers on shipment and carried out a human resources training program aimed at helping Tanzanian customs personnel to build stronger supervision capacity and law enforcement.
“China is willing to join hands with the international community to promote the cause of African environmental protection and wildlife conservation to make real results,” Lu said.
“The international community need not only help Tanzania enhance law enforcement, enhance law enforcement capacity regarding wildlife conservation, but also dedicate to poverty reduction to improve economic conditions and the livelihood of the people,” he told delegates to the First Conference on Stopping Wildlife Crime and Advancing Wildlife Conservation” held in Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam.
Poverty is actually the essential reason for fueling elephant poaching in Tanzania and other African countries where jumbos and other mammal species are illegally killed where some people profit by killing elephants for ivory, while farmers kill elephants to protect their farmland from rampaging animals, he added.
“On the other hand, through education, we should help the people of Tanzania to understand that conserving elephants means protecting the life environment of human beings. Raising people’s awareness against wildlife hunting and killing, purchase and consumption of rare wildlife products, are the best options,” Lu told the delegates made up of conservationists and policy makers.