By Waryoba Yankami
Claims that Tanzania has failed to fight against poaching on account that it has never managed to arrest any poachers in the country and at least all Tanzania’s trophies seized were seized outside the country have been refuted strongly by the government.
That said, Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Lazaro Nyalandu has issued a strong affirmation stating: “…let the whole world understand this, Tanzania is committed to protecting its wildlife and will leave no option out in the war against poaching …” he pledged yesterday in Dar es Salaam.
In the wake, the government has announced an ambitious initiative to lobby with the international community for the illegalization of ivory markets the world over in a new anti-poaching bid.
The move comes with the basic understanding of supply and demand, that the war against poaching remains largely unsuccessfully because of growing demands for ivory and other trophies in overseas countries undermining national efforts against elephant poaching.
As to the allegations published by the England based newspaper ‘Daily Mail’ on 8th and 9th this month, he denounced claims of no consignments having been arrested in the country clarifying that Tanzanian forces have nabbed many trophies inside the country before being transported overseas, clear evidence of government’s commitment against poaching.
As an example he said between 2010 and 2013 a total of 19,943 kilograms equal to 20 tonnes of ivories were seized in the country.
Further, he went to discredit claims of no poachers being arrested in the country saying at least 322 suspects have been arrested and arraigned in the same period, three years.
The minister noted that 12.2 tonnes of ivory was seized in 2013 and 145 suspects arrested. As for the arrest of ivory and other government trophy traffickers, he pointed out that, not only is it misleading for the England based paper to claim that no poachers or traffickers have been arrested noting that in fact one of the recently nabbed perpetrator happened to be one Robert Dewar Twist, the Director of Trans-Africa Logistics Limited of Dar es Salaam and an Englishman.
Twist was arrested on August 9th 2013, in possession of an array of national trophies and minerals worth USD 911,500.
Others include Chinese Huang Quin, Chen Jin Han and Xufu Jie who were arrested on November 2nd 2013 in possession of 1,885 kilograms of government trophies valued at USD 3,600,000 noting that several Tanzanians have also been arrested in the on going war against poaching.
Briefing journalists as to the scheduled London meeting (tomorrow) between Prince Charles and a Tanzanian delegation led by President Jakaya Kikwete, Nyalandu said the meeting is meant to discuss as methods to rescue endangered wildlife threatened by poaching.