Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Noose Tightened On Jumbo Exports

Photo: CITES
Government raises concern over elephant killings in the country.

THE government will instal special scanners at the ports to facilitate timely detection and confiscation of elephant tusks that are intended for export.

Natural Resources and Tourism Deputy Minister Lazaro Nyalandu said that apart from the scanners, it has been decided that from early next year, all staff at the ministry, including forest and game rangers, will receive special training on how to confront poachers.

Mr Nyalandu, who made a brief visit at the Selous Game Reserve, said his ministry has already contacted the ministry of transport over the ambitious plan aimed at containing massive killing of jumbos.

"We have already communicated with our colleagues at the transport ministry on the plan in which the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) will instal the scanners, as the present ones cannot effectively detect tusks concealed in the containers," he reported.

On 'Operation Tokomeza' he said the exercise has forced the ministry to revisit the code of conduct, which governs staff and rangers on how to effectively conduct future operations against poachers.

The move towards initiating training on codes of conduct comes in the wake of a report tabled in the Parliament by a probe team that revealed a number of controversies and immoral acts during the implementation of the first phase of the operation.

But despite the tabling of the report on 'Operation Tokomeza' by the parliamentary team, sources indicate that it has revealed many issues that needed to be crosschecked.

Serious Game Reserve Chief Warden Benson Kibonde said it was important that the second phase of the operation conducts inquiries with the game reserve staff, who have a lot to share on how poaching and sabotage of natural resources can be checked.

Astonishingly, he said the parliamentary probe team didn't summon any staff for inquiry on the matter. He admitted the steep decline in the number of elephants in the game reserve due to poaching, with current statistics showing there are now only 13,500 jumbos.

"The situation is quite alarming because in 1976, there were 110,000 elephants, which have been declining at alarming proportions. If current strategies bear expected fruits, it will take another 20 years to fill the existing gap," he said.

According to Mr Nyalandu, the wildlife census due next year will give reliable statistics of the total wildlife population. The exercise's findings will give a picture on how much weight should be put towards effective conservation of natural resources countrywide.

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InFocus

Concerns Over Jumbo Killings In Tanzania

Government raises concern over elephant killings in the country.

According to the government, at least 60 elephants have been killed in less that two months following the suspension of the controversial 'Operation Tokomeza'. Read more »