Matambwe — A COMMITEE of six led by the Rector of the College of African Wildlife Management Mweka, Prof. Jafari Kidegesho, is currently working on how best to merge the variety of institutions charged with wildlife conservation into a single entity in order to trim down operational costs and enhance efficiency.
The team is now conducting discussions with stakeholders to find out the best way of executing the plan," the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof. Jumanne Maghembe, revealed here over the weekend when responding to questions from journalists.
The minister was speaking at the launch of the Selous Ecosystem Conservation and Development Programme (SECAD) at its Matambwe Gate within the Selous Game Reserve, where he was accompanied by the German Ambassador to Tanzania.
Funded by the government of Germany, the initiative will be undertaken jointly by Prof. Maghembe's ministry through the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).
Speaking in the National Assembly recently, Prof. Maghembe hinted of the government move in Parliament where he informed lawmakers that the government would soon merge all institutions on the wildlife sector into one, to reduce administrative costs and boost efficiency.
He then invited proposals from the legislators on how the entire task could be undertaken.
The MPs who supported the idea included the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism, Atashasta Nditiye (Muhambwe - CCM).
"It's high time we had only one institution in the wildlife sector ... that will go a long way to reducing administrative costs and increase efficiency.... one unit of conservation and another on law enforcement which I proposed ... and to be under the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) would suffice," he suggested, at the time.
Prof. Maghembe further hinted that the protection unit would have to be equipped with modern equipment and technologies - and managed by "one chain of command and will be responsible for protecting human rights and national interests."
At present, institutions charged with conservation include the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI).
On its part, TANAPA was established in 1959 by the national parks law Chapter 282 and mandated to manage and supervise national parks established by law. To date, TANAPA manages 16 national parks, covering approximately 57,024 square kilometres.
Meanwhile, speaking at the Matambwe Gate over the weekend, Prof. Maghembe explained that the government of Germany through KfW had provided 45.124bn/- for the five-year conservation project.
The WWF and FZS on their part contributed 1.8bn/- each for the initiative, the minister said.
"This is a milestone project which will enable us to scale-up conservation in the game reserves through among others acquisition of working tools and strengthening of the fight against poaching," he explained.
So far, a number of efforts such as deployment of drones and increase of game warders had been taken to keep poachers and encroachers at bay, with Prof. Maghembe pledging additional 15 vehicles for rangers during FY 2017/18.
He also noted that the government plans to invest 352.6bn/- to improve facilities within the Selous reserve as well as Ruaha, Mikumi and Kitulo National Parks to woo