The government of Tanzania has been taking various measures to curb poaching, including routine patrols and special anti-poaching operations that included other law enforcement agencies, but despite the commitment and efforts shown there are still some challenges that hinder success.
These remarks were made by the United Republic of Tanzania Vice-President Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal on Friday during the Anti-poaching and Conservation of Elephants conference held in Dar es Salaam.
Dr. Bilal said that such challenges include; inadequate funds, equipments, technology and training as well as the participation of the general public in the fights against poaching.
“Poaching targets elephants for their ivory due to existing high demand and prices in the international black market thus organized and intricate poaching networks in and outside the country tend to sustain this illegal trade making it difficult for Tanzania alone to win the battle,” Dr. Bilal added.
“Poachers are increasingly using sophisticated gears in their evil pursuit as they use combat equipment both weapons and communication, unlike previously when they used to have only riffles and local weapons,” he reiterated.
It was noted that, the rangers alone cannot do this job, and it is for this reason that we call upon the international community to join hands with us in undertaking this important, urgent and demanding task since it needs concerted efforts on both equipment and training.
“The future of wildlife in Tanzania and in particular regarding elephants depends on adoption of effective security measures to ensure their survival in their natural habitats therefore we need to have a strategy that will provide proper guidance, harmonize funding sources as well as providing better coordination between agencies and organizations in the achievement of shared objectives,” Dr. Bilal concluded.
Poaching particularly of elephants, has recently increased to alarming proportions, posing a great threat to the survival of animals as the elephant population in the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem, which is by far the biggest stronghold in the country, declined from 109,419 elephants in 1976 to 22,208 elephants in 1991.
After deliberate measures with the support of the international community, poaching of elephants in the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem was greatly reduced and the number of elephants subsequently increased to 70,406 in 2006.
However, since 2008 elephant poaching has intensified countrywide leading to another big drop in the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem to just 13,084 in 2013 and this alarming drop seriously call for immediate measures to alleviate the situation.