By Sylivester Domasa
The Government announced yesterday a decision to take on board the crucial role of religious leaders in the fight against poaching in the country’s national parks.
Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry Chief, Lazaro Nyalandu made the announcement in Dar es Salaam during a consultative workshop organised by a US based environmental organisation WildAid that brought together religious leaders to deliberate on the status of poaching in the country. At the conference the minister affirmed commitment to work together with clerics to promote and conserve wildlife especially endangered species. According to him, the ministry will this month announce the latest statistics of elephants and rhinos found across the country after recent successful completion of census for the two endangered animals. The census was commissioned by the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) and is to reveal the rate of increase or decrease of wildlife since the last census. The minister outlined government’s commitment to addressing poaching in the country, but maintained that the matter remains very complex. “As religious leaders you have the power and opportunity that the government doesn’t. You’re the strongest instrument in the war against poaching we need your support,” he appealed.
He said on the government’s side, the ministry has resolved to increase game wardens and is set to announce operations of drones- unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to monitor Tanzania’s national parks and game reserves. To start, he said the operations will be launched soon at the Selous Game Reserve and will later be rolled-out to Serengeti National Parks and other parts of protect areas. A former Tanzanian Anglican Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa expressed concern over the increasing network of poachers while authorities are struggling to net ‘small fishes’ in the undertakings. He wondered why elephant poachers who are ambushing elephants at the game reserve were arrested but those manufacturing and supplying guns are left free. According to him the Bible is against poaching and that God’s word is about protecting and conserving the environment and all in it.