26 March 2013

Tanzania: Serengeti Wildlife Devastated By Poaching

The wildlife population in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania's Mara region has dropped drastically due to poaching, Tanzania's Daily News reported Tuesday (March 26th).

Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) Outreach Programme Manager Ahmed Mbugi said the buffalo population decreased from 70,000 to 40,000, elephants decreased from 2,500 to 500 and rhinos from 1,000 to fewer than 20.

"The decline in population of buffaloes, elephants and rhinos is due to intensive poaching perpetrated by local communities for subsistence and commercial purposes," he said.

Mbugi said law enforcement alone cannot tackle the poaching crisis. He said communities near the parks should be engaged in curbing poaching, as fences and fines are not an adequate deterrent.

To that end, Mbugi said TANAPA has spent 5.4 billion shillings ($3.3 million) since 2003 under the "Neighbours as Partners" campaign to implement community projects and mediate conflicts among communities who live in park areas. The programme has also promoted environmental conservation and facilitated income-generating activities.

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