The Tanzania's wildlife division is in dire need of local professional pilots to run its anti-poaching helicopters which are responsible for wildlife surveillance in the country's national parks and game reserves.
Lazaro Nyalandu, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, disclosed this in Arusha on Friday soon after he had had talks with representatives of hunting companies. The minister said the country has few pilots who are ready to work in that area of wildlife conservation.
"Sometimes we're compelled to use pilots from other security agencies like police to do air patrols. It is necessary for the wildlife unit and other affiliated conservation institutions to have its own pilots," he said.
"As government, we are trying to train pilots in and outside the country. But, we need more of them, that is why we are asking more Tanzanians to chip in and pursue pilot studies," he said. Currently, there are three students pursuing pilot studies in South Africa and three others are in the United States.
Nyalandu hailed efforts made by local and international hunting companies for their endeavours in contributing to wildlife conservation activities.
"I commend hunting firms through Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (Tahoa) for mobilising financial resources whereby part of it is used to finance pilot training for one female student," he said, identifying the seventh student as Annah Laroya, who is pursuing pilot studies within the country.
"Annah has been undertaking pilot studies within the country and hunting firms have mobilised about US2D5, 000. This amount will make her reach the intended mission. To us, this is big contribution in conserving Tanzania's wildlife resources which are serious pressure," he said.
For the past three years, Tanzania has been taking several steps towards strengthening wildlife conservation, including the use of aerial surveillance whose effectiveness has started bearing fruits.