The government has announced grand anti-poaching programme geared to trim- down senseless killings of African elephants, rhinos and other wild animals in the national parks and game reserves. Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Lazaro Nyalandu, unveiled the plan in the National Assembly when tabling his ministry’s budget estimates for the 2014/2015 fiscal year.
The minister said in the next fiscal year, the government in collaboration with Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) is to purchase three brand new helicopter choppers to heighten anti-poaching drive.
Nyalandu said in the new choppers that are to be bought include Robinson helicopter R44, and Bell Helicopters which will be doing anti-poaching activities in the Selous Game Reserve, another one will be placed in the NCAA and the last one will be at Tanapa.
“All the three helicopters will only do anti-poaching work and would be accompanied by units of vehicles, because these choppers will need ground logistics,” he said, adding that 12 vehicles will be manned by well-trained commandos, who would be able arrest poachers on the site and take them to responsible authorities. Those commandos will be trained at Pasiansi Wildlife Training Institute (PWTI).
“Using helicopter is the best way in fighting poaching in the country,” he said, adding that there are other partners who have pumped US$5 million in assisting Tanzania’s anti-poaching drive.
Part of the money is for the Tanzania Cheetah Conservation Programme, the other money will be used in improving training infrastructures at PWTI and building classrooms of accommodating 300 students as well as purchasing GPS.
The minister said six pilots for the choppers are to be trained in South Africa for carrying-out patrol operation in the country’s national parks and game reserves.
Among other plans include deploying new rangers amounting to 2,532, who will be posted in the parks and game reserves across Tanzania.
Nyalandu revealed that the Federal German government is also expected to bring one flight, which will be responsible for assisting in anti-poaching endeavors.
He however said that the government in collaboration with development partners will introduce a basket fund which will be responsible for anti-poaching activities. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be at the center of the basket fund.
“All these, will help in addressing wildlife poaching in the country,” the minister said.
On government’s endeavors in promoting country’s tourist destinations, the minister said: “As government we’re in a process of re-branding Tanzania, that would make the country market itself worldwide and give opportunity for tourists understand Tanzania and its tourist destinations.”
“After the re-branding process, the government will produce advert that would market Tanzania abroad and thereafter be televised in the international media streams such as BBC and CCN for the whole year.”
The advert will be ready by June, this year, and President Jakaya Kikwete is to officially launch the Tanzania’s grand advert, which would make the country’s attractions well-known worldwide.
The minister however said that establishment of Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) would add value to the national efforts of scaling down senseless killings of innocent wild animals in the wilderness.
He said: “As government, we are determined to fight wildlife poaching until the last minute, that’s why we’re allocating reasonable amount of resources in the sub-sector.”
On Tourism, Nyalandu said in about 1,135,884 tourists visited Tanzania’s tourist destinations in 2013 and brought in US$1.8 billion compared to 1,077,058 tourists in 2012 and brought in US$1.7 billion.
The minister anticipated that the number of tourists will be doubled in the next few years. Tanzania’s tourism sub-sector contributes 17 percent of the country’s GDP.
James Lembeli, chairman of Parliament's Natural Resources Committee, expressed concerns on jumbo poaching in the country’s wilderness, saying: “It is so sad that despite of government’s efforts, elephants kept on growing in recent days.”
insisted that researchers still show that thirty elephants per day. “At the end of the year, you're talking about 10,000 elephants killed,” he said.
Lembeli, who is an MP for Kahama, implored the need for the government to continue with its endeavors of promoting tourist destination including improving roads getting into the national parks particularly those located in the southern and western tourist circuit.