Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

12 August 2012

Tanzania: Country Loses 30 Elephants Daily

Dodoma — A REPORT from experts has it that the country loses 30 elephants daily and an average of 800 every month to poaching, the Parliament was told.

The Chairman of parliamentary Committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment, James Lembeli (Kahama - CCM) while presenting the Committee speech, noted that between 2006 and 2009, the country lost 30, 000 elephants to poaching, adding that now the country loses 10, 000 per year.

The legislature noted that areas that are notorious for poaching of elephants include Selous-Mikumi zone and Tanzania reserve and Mozambique Selous-Njasa. He said poaching activities are increasing due to lack of enough funds to fight the vice, lack of enough human resource and working equipments.

"The Committee wants the government to take steps quickly to curb this problem, including availing enough funds to fight poaching of elephants and other animals in general," he said.Mr Lembeli said the government should issue a permit to the ministry to employ enough personnel in the wild life department and to renovate infrastructure in forests to safeguard elephants for future generation.

He said in 1977, elephant population in Africa stood at 1.3 million and by 1992 that number had dwindled to 600, 000, and today the number stands at 470,000 due to poaching. "The committee directs the government to address poaching issues in its entirety and stop poaching activities in the country," he explained.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki in his speech when tabling his ministry's budget estimates, noted that 75, 593 patrols were conducted within and outside National Forests Reserves.

Ambassador Kagasheki noted that a total of 1, 981 suspects have been apprehended in connection with different crimes, adding that 1, 280 cases have been opened. He said out of the total cases opened, 884 of 1, 522 suspects are in different courts across the country, and 382 have been ruled and 439 suspects have paid a fine of 173, 161,000/-.

The Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Mr Peter Msigwa (Iringa Urban - Chadema) accused the government for not putting more efforts and resources in the fight against poaching in the country. He said a suspect caught in connection with poaching was arraigned in court and given different charges not related to elephant poaching.

He said the security of elephants and other rare species is in danger because of government's laxity in taking stringent measures to curb poaching. "It is a shame to hear the government say that poachers have a lot of money and use highly sophisticated methods, when we expect the government to ensure the security of the wild animals," he added.

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