7 June 2019

Tanzania: Crocodile Attacks On Humans, Livestock Raise Hunting Concern

WHILE Tanzania is yet to conduct special crocodile census, cases related of attacking, injuring and killing people and livestock show that crocodiles could be increasing.

In response to this, local hunters appeal to the wildlife authorities to allocate them more hunting quotas so that they may help reduce them.

"Current hunting regulations stipulate that each tracker should be permitted to kill just four crocodiles," said Mr Hillary Daffi, one of the trackers operating two companies, Marera and Bullet Safaris.

According to the hunter, the law also requires them to hunt only old crocodiles that essentially can cause no harm to humans and livestock.

His stand is reflected by the chairperson of Simba Professional Hunting Association (SPHA), Mr Julius Saitoti, who is of the view that, since the United States has lifted the ban on wildlife products from Tanzania, trackers need more quotas on some animals, such as crocodiles, whose number is increasing in the country at the moment.

The concern was raised by local hunters in Arusha during special training organised for trackers by the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (Tawa) on how they can utilise a digital portal for bidding for 81 hunting blocks electronically.

The issue was raised after observing that although the reptiles were famous for their skin and their meat is among the favourite cuisines offered on demand in tourist hotels locally and internationally.

Wildlife experts estimate that there could be 600,000 African crocodiles at the moment, but it is possible that 50 per cent of them are found in Tanzania.

The number of crocodiles in the country is reported to be dangerously high such that in last year, the wildlife authorities were contemplating of reducing them.

A few month ago, Kilombero District Wildlife Officer, Madaraka Amani said there had been hundreds of cases about people being attacked by crocodiles. "At least 35 victims were badly injured, five losing limbs with two reported deaths," Mr Amani said.

It is estimated that the number of crocodiles in the country's largest Game Reserve, Selous, is over 100,000, according to Mr Benson Kibonde, a zoological expert, who is also the coordinator of hunting activities at Mkwawa Safaris.

"Tanzania possibly has the highest number of African crocodiles in the world at the moment.

This is because all water bodies in the country are ideal for their survival," he said.


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