The anti-poaching rive in the Selous Game Reserve received a boost on Tuesday after a hunting company, Tanganyika Wildlife Safari (TAWISA), donated 60m/- to two villages in Liwale district, Lindi region, and a secondary school in Rufiji district, Coast region.
The villages, Ndapata and Mpigamiti, received 20m/- each to help in development projects which will in turn dissuade residents in the area from poaching as a means of earning money.
Handing over the cheques, TAWISA Managing Director, Mr Erick Pasanisi, said the donation was part of the hunting company’s duty to help populations living in the vicinity of game reserves.
“We hope that the funds will be used as planned and we intend to be of further help in the future. This assistance should also help in the drive against poaching,” he said.
Selous Game Reserve Manager, Mr Benson Kibonde, stressed the need for people living near game reserves to protect wildlife since their livelihoods too depended on wildlife.
He lamented the depletion of elephants due to poaching and called on the public to take the protection of wildlife seriously for current and future generations.
“There are fears that elephants will become extinct in the near future. But it is not just elephants which are suffering. The people surrounding game reserves will also not survive if they do not take conservation and protection of animals seriously,” he said.
Mr Kibonde said it was a shame that today there were supposed to be 112,000 elephants in the game reserve but there were only a little over 13,000.
Receiving the cheque, Liwale District Commissioner, Mr Ephraim Mbaga, said poaching in the district had been so rampant that among his main objectives after being appointed DC was to enhance the fight against the vice.
He noted that the assistance would be of great help since 75 per cent of the district was within the Selous Game Reserve, thus many residents depended on the reserve for their economic activities.