By Bilham Kimati
The campaign to control the wanton killing of elephants and rhinos that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism initiated in the recent past but temporarily suspended should resume as soon as possible in order to keep an eye on notorious poachers.
A veteran politician and long serving legislator, Dr Chrisant Mzindakaya, told a press conference in Dar es Salaam when commenting on the best ways to ease the pressure exerted on wildlife.
He called for immediate action by the government and the international community at large, to restore anti-poaching operations before more animals die at the hands of greedy poachers who kill them for their trophies.
"The network of poachers must be investigated. Their secret operations similar to those of illicit drug dealers must be determined. Usually it is the 'small fish' that are usually netted.
The actual big-time dealers always evade law enforcement agents. "Wildlife is part of global heritage, therefore, the international community has the obligation to support Tanzania on effective implementation of the agreement on the Convention on International Trade of the Endangered Species (CITES).
"This includes monitoring and control in countries of destination," Mzindakaya said. He warned that any further delay in the resumption of nationwide anti-poaching operations will offer time to poachers to continue killing elephants and rhinos. Investigation has shown that at least ten elephants are killed every day.
"Selous Game Reserve in south Tanzania, which is credited for the largest number of elephants, is a world heritage. Therefore, it needs closer monitoring of illegal activities.
"This place (Selous) should strictly be set aside for photo tourism only. Hunting which brings insignificant profit to the nation, must be stopped," Mzindakaya suggested. He underlined the importance of equipping the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, even after official closure of anti-poaching operations to make sure that poachers do not strike again.
The retired politician commended President Jakaya Kikwete for affirmative action against poaching as demonstrated recently during his address to the nation through the National Assembly in Dodoma. More....