By Robert Okanda
Despite improved surveillance systems in the country, the poaching of trophies is not subsiding.
A resident of Dar es Salaam, Ali Juma was arrested by Tazara Commanding Police Force after being found in illegal possession of 14 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 29 kilogrammes. In the same bag with the ivory, the suspect had hidden a 900 gram hippopotamus tooth.
He was arrested on Friday after he boarded the Tazara train at Kisaki Station heading for Dar es Salaam. The suspect was arrested when the intelligence personnel were tipped off by a law abiding citizen as the suspect boarded the Tazara train with two bags.
Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam, Acting Tazara Unit Commander, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Innocent Mugaya said that after communicating with the Wildlife Conservation Division in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism officials identified the trophies in the bags.
According to Commander Magaya the Wildlife Division from the ministry confirmed that the bag contained 14 elephant tusks at the value of US Dollar 15,950 (25,520,000/-).
Commander Magaya said that while arresting the suspect for ferrying ivory, police officers seized two bags with 19 kilogrammes of marijuana abandoned by an unknown passenger on the train.
The commander warned that people intending to commit crimes should be warned that the police force has organised itself and will deal with criminals accordingly.
It is estimated that the population of elephants on the continent is estimated to be between 420,000 to 650,000 living in three countries with Botswana, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe - accounting for well over half of these elephants.