Tanzania declares Elephant Day to curb illegal ivory trade - Tanzania has officially designated 22 Aug. as its Elephant Day to be observed annually to raise public awareness on the need for the giant mammal’s survival, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has said.
“The national Elephant Day will provide a forum for all Tanzanians and wildlife conservation stakeholders to share ideas, shape public opinion and policies on how best to protect the elephant population in the country,” said Prof. Amos Majule, Director of the Institute of Resource Assessment of the University of Dar es Salaam.
The Institute is collaborating with the ministry in addressing threats posed by human beings, especially poachers and destroyers of the environment in which Tanzania’s elephant herd has survived for centuries.
“The elephant is an important source of national revenue through tourism because many travellers pay large sums of money to see and photograph the tuskers in the wild or hunt them for sport,” said Majule.
Tanzania is home to Africa’s second largest elephant herd after Botswana. Their population, however, has been dwindling in recent years due to illegal hunting for the tusks that have a notoriously big market in the Far East, particularly China and Thailand, despite the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) ban on ivory trade.
“Elephants in Africa play an important role in the Savanna and forest ecosystems as they contribute to maintaining suitable habitat for a myriad of other species,” Majule noted.
Meanwhile, the East African Legislative Assembly currently in session in Arusha, Tanzania, has passed a resolution halting the slaughter of elephants and ivory trafficking. More....