By Nelson Kessy
Wildlife officers in Kilombero District have arrested Dar es Salaam businessman Sudi Nyumbi with 14 pieces of ivory at Kidatu checking point and four other elephant tusks at Kitindiuka village all valued Tsh 120,000,000.
Speaking to The Guardian on Thursday, Madaraka Amani, wildlife officer in Kilombero District said that they managed to detain the elephant tusks dealer early on Tuesday at 09.am Madaraka said "Nyumbi was going to Dar es Salaam from Ilonga then when he reached Kidatu checking point our officers discovered 14 pieces of elephant tusks which he was hiding, using a motor cycle.
“After our game officers suspected him, they managed to detain him with all the pieces of elephant tusks valued Tsh.72,000,000 in sum,” he said.
Last week other four elephant's tusks were detained by game officers at Katindiuka village outside Ifakara whereby suspects managed to escape and left the trophies on a bicycle all worth Tsh.48,000,000.
He further noted that a wildlife officer discovered that the trophies were hidden under the ground where warders went on and collected them from the ground.
"It seems they were going to sell the trophies after hiding them for a while but fortunately we managed to nab the pieces," explained.
Despite government efforts in curbing illegal business the number of dealers in elephant tusks is said to be increasing.
Before the launching of Operation Tokomeza the situation was worse because many elephants were killed and their tusks chopped off, but now at least the situation has cooled, the officer noted.
Elephant poaching in Kilombero Valley is still rife despite that the area is surrounded by different parks especially Selous Game Reserve.
For their part, a ward executive officer in Kilombero opting for anonymity said that the problem is lack of cooperation and small fines slapped on poachers which fuels freelance poaching to sell ivory to agents for Far East markets.
"Poachers once detained by police officers they are taken to court and judged to pay a fine which is low compared to what they did," he said.
The police station at Ifakara received 14 pieces of ivory trophies and four other elephant tusks but officers refused to talk.
While the government is fighting poaching, poachers in Kilombero currently use pesticide known as 'furadan 5g' for poisoning elephants in parks in the zone.