The government has recruited 100 anti-poaching rangers in a bid to reinforce the war against wanton killings of wildlife in its game reserves and national parks, an official said on Sunday.
Director General of Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) Allan Kijazi said that the new squad will boost the fight against poaching, taking into account that the new team is well-trained by the military.
"Right now we're working on ensuring that working tools are improved so that our rangers are well-equipped and be able to fight against poachers who use sophisticated weapons," Kijazi said.
"We are not going to surrender our natural resources to greedy people, we are going to fight until the last minute," the official said, admitting that the fight against poaching is tough.
"We need to remain united and disclose the poachers' cartels at the expense of Tanzania's natural resources," he said.
According to the official, Tanapa has a number of strategies in place to phase out poaching in its parks, including transforming its civilian-operation system to a paramilitary system to effectively cope with acts of poaching in the country. Under this new system, its staff will be required to undergo military training.
Kijazi said his office is also working on improving the welfare of its staff including improving accommodation facilities in order to make them live comfortable and work diligently.
"I should also take this opportunity to call Tanapa staff to hatch new ideas that will help in unearthing cartels of poachers in the country. As Tanapa we have a big role to address poaching in our parks and game reserves. Hence, it is our responsibility to ensure that we unchain cartels of poachers and those who finance the cartels," he said.
"It is high time me and you revealed those people who are behind this barbaric business," Kijazi noted.
He called on local communities living close to the parks and game reserves to chip in and take part in conservation efforts.
Tanzania has been identified as the leading exporter of illegal ivory in recent years, with an estimated 10,000 elephants being slaughtered in the country annually.
Statistics showed that in the 1960s Tanzania had 350,000 elephants, but until 2009 the number had decreased to 110,000 due to poaching. In 1974 there were 700 rhinos, but now there are fewer than 100 rhinos.