For decades now Tanzania has been fighting against poachers to protect its endangered animal species such as rhinos and elephants. Several such operations have been conducted before in attempt to flush out poachers from national parks and game reserves.
The operations, to some extent, recorded considerable success though the situation worsened the moment such campaigns ended.
It may be recalled that in the late 1980s, the government carried out a special campaign codenamed ‘Operesheni Uhai’ in which members of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) under the late Major General John Walden were involved.
Operesheni Uhai was deliberately carried out after it was realized that the number of jumbos had tremendously decreased from 350,000 during independence to 55,000 in the 1980s.
The number of elephants in the country increased to 110,000 in 2009, thanks to the ban imposed on ivory trade in the world by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
However, government statistics released recently showed that between 2010 and September this year a total of 3,899 pieces of tusks, weighing 11,212 kilogrammes and another 22 pieces of processed elephant tusks, weighing 3,978 kilogrammes were impounded.
The same statistics showed a total of 4,692 pieces of trophies, weighing 17,797 kilogrammes that were seized abroad emanated from Tanzania. Still worse, data from researchers show Tanzania has been losing 30 elephants to poachers on daily basis.
Findings are yet to be made public on what could be the impact of the recent ‘Operesheni Tokomeza Ujangili’ (Eliminate Poaching) that ended up costing political lives of four ministers. Despite the determination to combat the problem more individuals are still being arrested in possession of the trophies.
While the war against poaching is being fought on all fronts, Tanzania in collaboration with other countries, must work hand in hand with world bodies such as CITES to convince Asian nations where ivory fetches good market to discourage the business.
In the Asian nations, according to reports, the reliable market for trophies is in China, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong. More....