By Aisia Rweyemamu
At a time when poaching has tremendously scaled up in the country, about 706 pieces of ivory, representing more than 200 tuskers killed, were found yesterday in Dar es Salam Mikocheni area at a residence of Chinese nationals.
The incredulous catch was hidden in a manner that needed informed intelligence to uncover as shells of snails mixed with garlic to fool any suspicious minds sniffing about the ivory. Even the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki, and police officers at the scene were so stunned with the ingenuity of the residents, evidently agents of Far East ivory traders.
A detailed report made available to The Guardian on Sunday in past months says China is deeply implicated in the wave of killing of elephants owing to its million dollar trade in ivory products. The report authored by the Tanzania Elephant Protection Society (TEPS) said rising economic relations between China and Tanzania fuel elephant killings in the country, calling for proper government intervention.
The document underlined that though the Chinese investments were important in the country’s economy and development, this shouldn’t compromise the country’s natural wildlife conservation efforts.
The report affirmed that at the current rate of 30 elephants killed every day and 850 elephants shot every month, there is an unprecedented risk of the country’s elephant population perishing in the next seven years.
“China is the number one investor in Tanzania … but the majority of tusks exported illegally from Tanzania end up in China due to the huge demand for ivory in China,” it said, noting that Tanzania’s partnership with China risks being at the expense of Tanzania’s vital natural resources and the tourist industry,
This requires political will and strong leadership to resolve, it said, recommending that the Tanzania government “should make investment from China and other countries strictly conditional on China tackling its demand for ivory at home, and stronger law enforcement collaboration to halt the flow of ivory from Tanzania to China.” More....