By Apolinari Tairo
Reacting to circulating reports over escalating crime on poaching of elephants and the bloody ivory trade, Tanzania government said more than 1,000 poaching suspects were booked in the span of a year.
Officials from the ministry of Natural Resources said Wednesday this week that 1,200 suspected poaching criminals were arrested and booked before the courts of law. Court punishment for a convicted poacher can be a fine of only US$13.
Neither data nor number of elephants poached and jumbo killers booked before the law during the year in question, 2012, and March this year, are available. Wildlife conservation officials only said several people were arrested, some were charged for crimes on poaching, while others were in possession of high-caliber hunting guns.
In what independent wildlife conservationists call “politics versus conservation,” the Tanzania government has been politicizing conservation of wildlife through the parliament and other instruments of state, making poaching of elephants hard to monitor and control, while corruption within security and wildlife conservation units has become an order of the day.
Government wildlife conservation officials said 670 cases were carried in different courts across Tanzania by last year up to March this year where poachers were fined US$109,377 in total.
But, the gravity of elephant poaching in Tanzania has gone far, involving corrupt officials within conservation units, state security, and potential individuals including politicians and businessmen. More....