5 October 2013

Tanzania: Harsher Penalty Awaits Poachers

Photo: Reinhardt Hartzenberg/GCIS
People of KwaZulu-Natal arrive at the Moses Mabhida Stadium for the provincial memorial service for the late former President Nelson Mandela.

Arusha — STERNER punishment awaits poachers following government's finalisation of a Bill to check rising wave of poaching incidents in the country.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Amb. Khamis Kagasheki told this paper on Friday that the Bill is scheduled for tabling in the National Assembly next month.

Amb. Kagasheki admitted that the current law was lenient and had loopholes that culprits took advantage of."Poachers must be harshly punished because they are merciless people who wantonly kill our wildlife and sometimes game wardens, he said. He said due to the rising crime level, he could not help thinking that shooting on the spot of the culprits, could go a long way towards checking the killings. "I am very aware that some alleged human rights activists will make an uproar, claiming that poachers have as much rights to be tried in courts as the next person, but let's face it, poachers not only kill wildlife but also usually never hesitate to shoot dead any innocent person standing in their way," stated Amb. Kagasheki.

The minister was speaking at the climax of the global 'Elephant March' held in 15 countries worldwide and in Tanzania, about 3 kilometres mass walk was held in Arusha, which is the country's capital for tourism. The march started in Majengo area and wound up at the AICC Club grounds in Kijenge area.

He warned that illegal hunters gunning for elephant tusks have wealthy international barons backing their rackets, thus well equipped with advanced weaponry and usually can afford all legal assistance.

"That is why you always hear that court cases against poachers take very long and sometimes the culprits get acquitted and the only way to solve this problem is to execute the killers on spot," maintained Amb. Kagasheki who added that a survey will soon be launched to find out for real how many elephants get killed here annually because available figures range between 30 and 70 jumbos per day.

The 'Elephant March,' was organised by the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) in conjunction with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) through their 'i-worry' campaign and was staged in 15 cities across the globe in the single largest demonstration of awareness for the species.

Slated on 'Animal's Day,' on the 4th of October, the maiden 'Elephant March' took place in Arusha, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Edinburgh, London, Los-Angeles, Melbourne, Munich, New York City, Rome, Toronto, Washington DC and Wellington.

Earlier on, a similar but larger walk was organised by Mr Patrick Patel through his African Wildlife Trust organisation and it involved people walking over 600 kilometres from Arusha to Dar es Salaam.

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