Elephants In Tanzania Decimated In Just Five Years

Community Leaders Have Plans To Defend Wildlife, Ecosystems

Tanzania has emerged as the epicenter of Africa’s elephant poaching crisis after a government census revealed a 60 percent loss of its elephants in just five years.

The results add pressure to a government that has been heavily criticized for its inability to stop a flood of poached ivory being stripped from its national parks.

elephant conservation Tanzania

The Tanzanian government on Monday estimated that 65,721 elephants have died in the country in the last five years. The report showed the number of Tanzanian elephants plummeting from an estimated 109,051 in 2009 to 43,330 in 2014.

The census reveals a loss far greater than declines reported in Mozambique last week. The country’s minister for natural resources and tourism Lazaro Nyalandu said the situation was “unimpressive.”

“It is evident that elephant population in Tanzania has reached unprecedented low level,” he said. Tanzania’s wildlife rangers may be trained as a paramilitary as part of a government action plan to combat poaching, which Nyalandu identified as the “probable reason” for the decline.

“It is incredible that poaching on such an industrial scale has not been identified and addressed before now,” said Steven Broad, executive director of wildlife trade monitor Traffic.

Traffic said the numbers were catastrophic. Since 2009, at least 45 ton of ivory have reached the international black market from Tanzania, making it Africa’s largest source of poached ivory. The losses were worst in the Ruaha–Rungwa, Malagarasi-Muyovosi and Selous-Mikumi ecosystems, which all lost more than two-thirds of their elephants. In these reserves the “carcass ratio,” a number used to assess the death rates within populations, indicated elephants were dying at four times the natural rate.

Of particular concern is the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem, where only 8,272 elephants remained in 2014, compared to 34,664 in 2009, according to government figures, the statement said. The icons have also been under attack in Kilimanjaro National Park, where just 100 elephants roam today.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

“Tanzania has been hemorrhaging ivory with Ruaha-Rungwa the apparent epicenter and nobody seems to have raised the alarm,” Broad said, and urged the government to take action to bring the situation under control.

WWF’s global species program director Carlos Drews said the disappearance of so many elephants from Ruaha–Rungwa could only be explained by the involvement of the international crime gangs who have industrialized the killing of Africa’s megafauna.

“The slaughter of thousands of elephants in Ruaha–Rungwa clearly points to the involvement of international organized crime, which is compounded by corruption and weak enforcement capacity in Tanzania – and to the urgent need to scale up efforts to tackle the poaching epidemic before the area’s remaining elephant herds are destroyed,” he said.

In the Selous reserve, which has previously been identified as a poaching hotspot, the numbers dropped from almost 45,000 to around 15,000. Last year Unesco added Selous to its World Heritage in Danger list.

elephant conservation Africa

A breakdown of herds across the country showed some smaller elephant populations had increased, especially in the famed Serengeti region, which rose from 3,068 to 6,087 animals. However, beyond the most heavily visited tourist locations, elephant numbers were significantly down.

To help reverse this onslaught, several NGOs across Tanzania and Kenya have proposed plans to help defend elephants and other endangered species. They also will help defend entire ecosystems from collapse. They will help engage entire communities in many ways to improve their stake in wildlife and habitat conservation. Programs will include anti-poaching patrols, habitat restoration and conservation, watershed restoration, agroforestry, forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, solar power and more. Please visit our Tanzania link above.

Tanzania wildlife News via http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/02/tanzania-epicentre-of-elephant-poaching-census-reveals

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve Threatened By Poaching

Poaching Decimating Tanzania’s Elephants

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha (Qatar) last month sounded the alarm and put the Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger because widespread poaching is decimating wildlife populations on the property. The Committee called on the international community, including ivory transit and destination countries, to support Tanzania in the fight against this criminal activity.

elephant poaching Africa

Covering 50,000 square kilometers, the Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa. The property is renowned for its populations of elephant, black rhinoceros, cheetah, giraffe, hippopotamus and crocodile, amongst many other species. It also has an exceptionally high variety of habitats including Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps, making it a valuable laboratory for on-going ecological and biological processes.

However, rampant poaching has caused a dramatic decline in the wildlife populations, especially elephants and rhino, whose numbers have dropped by almost 90 percent since 1982, when the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee ended on June 25, under the Chair of Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.

In Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa, investments from India and China have created an economic boom. This escalating economic disparity—including the entitlement of foreign investors, myths, cultural factors, and corruption—is driving a devastating trade in illegal wildlife parts, including elephant ivory, rhino horn and others. The demand for endangered species’ parts is rapidly driving them toward extinction.

elephant conservation Tanzania

Both the African elephant and the rhino could be poached into extinction within a decade, if drought and starvation don’t wipe them out first. Lions will go right behind them. The collapse will continue until the land won’t support man or beast. Containing this ecological and humanitarian disaster to Africa will be impossible. The entire world has a stake in saving this delicate ecosystem and others from collapse.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/q2nb7cy

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Tanzania’s Elephant Herd Gone Within Five Years

Poachers Killing Tourism For Ivory

Poachers are slaughtering Tanzania’s elephants for their ivory at such alarming rates that the population could be completely wiped out in just seven years, conservationists told a conference Friday. The two-day UN-backed conference, which opened Friday, aims to develop strategies to stem elephant poaching in Tanzania, a top safari destination determined to protect its prized wildlife but struggling to stop sophisticated organized criminal gangs.

“Approximately 30 elephants a day are killed… at this rate the population will be exterminated by 2020,” said the Tanzanian Elephant Protection Society (TEPS), an independent conservation group.

African elephant poachers

Tanzanian Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal painted a bleak picture as he opened the summit, asking for international assistance in battling the increasingly well-organized and equipped poaching gangs.

“Organized and intricate poaching networks in and outside the country sustain this illegal trade, thus making it difficult for Tanzania alone to win this battle,” Bilal said.

Tanzanian police late last year launched a crackdown on suspected poachers amid a spate of elephant and rhino killings, operating under what was reported to be a shoot-to-kill policy and making sweeping arrests.

While poaching rates dropped drastically, the operation was shut down because of allegations of harassment, rape and murder of suspected poachers. At least 19 people were killed and over 1,000 arrested in the crackdown, according to a government investigation. Once it stopped, elephant killings soared again.

TEPS director Alfred Kikoti said he wanted the military to resume its role battling poachers.

“They have to stay in there, protecting our elephants,” he said. “They can’t just be in there for one operation and then pull out. It needs to be a longer term commitment.”

elephant conservation Tanzania

Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years, with gangs targeting rhinos and massacring whole herds of elephants for their ivory. Organized gangs with insider knowledge and armed with automatic weapons and specialized equipment such as night vision goggles, use chainsaws to carve out the rhino horn or remove elephant tusks.

The growing trend is threatening Tanzania’s tourism sector, a key foreign currency earner for the country. The industry, nine tenths of which revolves around wildlife, accounts for 17 percent of Tanzania’s gross domestic product and employs over 300,000 people, according to official statistics.

Millions of dollars of elephant tusks and rhino horns are smuggled out of East Africa each year, according to the United Nations, with demand fuelled by an increasingly affluent Chinese middle class.

Tanzania’s vast Selous-Mikumi region was once home to one of the largest elephant populations in the world, with around 70,000 animals living there in 2006, Bilal said. Last year, that had plummeted to only 13,000 elephants.

The sale of ivory stockpiles — from tusks seized from poachers or recovered from animals that have died naturally — to raise funds for conservation created fierce debate at the conference.

illegal ivory trade and elephant extinction

International trade in ivory has been banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1989. Tanzania’s current stock of 120 tonnes of ivory could — if sold at black market prices — raise over 60 million dollars (43 million euros), but conservationists argued it would only encourage more killings.

“A legal ivory market only stimulates an illegal ivory market,” said Trevor Jones, director of the Southern Tanzania Elephant Project.

“Moreover, an existing stockpile stimulates poaching, because it gives poachers hope that there may one day be a legal market, giving criminals a chance to launder their ivory.”

Source: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/86459/imagine–elephants-wiped-out-in-tanzania-by-2020-due-to-poaching

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Wildlife Poachers Invading Northern Serengeti

Poachers Killing Africa’s Future

The seizure of six pieces of elephant tusks worth 20m/- by security personnel in Tarime District on January 24 proves that the northern part of Serengeti National Park (SENAPA) isn’t free from poachers. Police say the tusks were impounded from a person who was traveling from Kegonga village to unknown destination. Kegonga is one of the villages in Tarime District bordering northern part of the world famous animal sanctuary.

Justus Kamugisha, the special zone police commander in Tarime/Rorya confirms that the suspect was arrested at the Itiryo village shortly after boarding a mini-bus in Kegonga village. “He was arrested by police officers after the tusks were found in his bag covered with clothes,” Kamugisha said.

elephant conservation Tanzania

He named the suspect as 39-year-old Bahait Julias Hunga, a resident of Msati village in Tarime district. Reports from Kegonga village say Hunga was seen at the village a day before his arrest.

“We saw the man at our village in the afternoon, and one could easily tell that he wasn’t a resident of Kegonga. We were shocked to hear that he had been arrested with elephant tusks the following morning. This is tarnishing the image of our village,” said a villager.

“These suspects are involved in killing elephants and are involved in ivory business. We are making further investigations,” he said. Kamugisha urged villagers living near the Serengeti to co-operate with security organs in fighting poaching.

elephant poaching Africa

Reports from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism says 30 elephants are being killed by poachers in the country every day. The ivory trade has of late become a serious concern in Tanzania. Last year, the government launched a nationwide anti-poaching drive christened Operation Tokomeza to contain the crime in the country. This operation was suspended after it was found out that officials had engaged in maltreatment of innocent citizens.

Land disputes between conservators and some livestock keepers is another serious problem that has of late been threatening the ecological balance of the northern part of SENAPA. Some villagers in Tarime have been grazing their animals inside the park for lack of land.

Grazing in a national park is illegal according the Tanzanian Conservation Act. Authorities in Tarime are convinced that some herders have been taking advantage of grazing in the park to engage on poaching. “We cannot stay and see the world heritage being destroyed.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

The park is significant for us and for the entire world,” Tarime District Commissioner Mr John Henjewele said recently. SENAPA wardens have been confiscating cattle grazing in the park, forcing livestock-keepers to pay heavy fines. Mr. William Mwakilema, the SENAPA Chief Park Warden has repeatedly been urging livestock keepers to respect the existing boundaries separating the park and neighboring villages.

Mara Regional Commissioner Mr. John Tuppa has instructed the Tarime District Council to support introduction of land use plan in the villages located near the park, a move which he believes would help to minimize conflicts between villagers and wardens.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201402070291.html?aa_source=acrdn-f0

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Tanzania’s Elephants Going Fast

Elephant Census In Selous-Mikumi, Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystems Released

By Lazaro Nyalandu, MP., Deputy Minister For Natural Resources and Tourism, The United Republic Of Tanzania.

Excellencies. Ambassadors. Government officials. Conservation Stakeholders. Members of the Press. Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good morning. On January 07, my Ministry, with the support of Game Frontier Ltd, was able to airlift one of our bravest Game Rangers, Mr Richard Temu for emergency medical treatment following his encounter with wildlife poachers while on duty at Ugalla Game Reserve.

elephant conservation Tanzania

For the past 7 years, the Department of Wildlife has lost 13 Game Rangers and officers killed in the line of duty by poachers, while 4 Game Rangers have critically been injured. A young lady, Dorcus Lumbagi was bruttally killed by poachers who cowardly sprayed bullets to terminate such promising young girl.

Our hearts and thoughts go to their families and their country and the world is grateful for their sacrifices. On behalf of the government, and the entire world community which care deeply about conservation of our heritage, I salute Mr. Temu and these men and women in uniform and hereby express my deepest appreciation for their sacrifice in protecting what is dear to our hearts. Tanzania’s wildlife heritage.

After the Botswana Conference on Elephants, there was Franco-African Summit in Paris, in which HE the President, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete attended and by whereby the government of France and the EU made commitments to helping African countries fight poaching and traffickers. 

Further to these commitments, the United Kingdom graciously announced to host the London Conference to address the elephants poaching crisis in February, and I wish to announce Tanzania’s readiness to participate and engage with the world community in seeking the much needed global support to defeat poaching in our country. Our government further appreciates the commitment made the the United States to join hands to support our efforts, which was made during the visit by President Barack Obama last year.

This morning, the government would further wish to thank all of you, our development partners for standing side by side with us during the most trying times in the history of conservation in Tanzania. We further appreciate the financial as well as logistical support extended to our Department of Wildlife during the exercise of elephants sensor carried out in Selous-Mikumi, and Ruaha Rungwa ecosystem, which was jointly financed by Germany’s GIZ, through Frankfurt Ziological Society (FZS), the UNDP through their joint project with TANAPA and SPANEST.

endangered species East Africa

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, given the gravity of the poaching problem facing Tanzania today, the government is committed to go the distance to fight and defeat poaching. This commitment was demonstrated by the government when we ordered Operation Tokomeza from 4th October to 1st November last year and unfortunately, following allegations of gross misconducts and reported human rights abuses, the government ordered a halt, while investigating all the abuses reported. 

As you may all recall, during his end of the year address, the President, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete ordered a formation of Judicial Commission of Enquiry to throughly investigate and further prosecute all persons who may be found guilty of the offenses against people’s and human rights during the Operation Tokomeza. 

We shall leave no stones unturned in our pursuit to bring to justice those responsible, regardless of their positions. We seek to further demonstrate to our citizens and to the international community, our government’s highest standards in upholding human rights as has been Tanzania’s renown record and standing among nations.

Further to these efforts, my Ministry is pleased to announce today that we have formulated and updated the Codes of Conduct which must now be followed in all of our anti poaching related operations in order to further safe guard people’s rights and, they shall be mandated to be followed by all Game Rangers, Game Officers, and any security officials involved in anti poaching operations. On this note, we wish to further announce that Operation Tokomeza II shall start in due course.

forest elephants Arabuko Sokoke Kenya

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism wishes to announce the results of the elephant census that was conducted in October and November this year. The census aimed at providing the Government with knowledge and understanding of the current status of elephant populations within and outside the protected areas. The Ministry, in collaboration with experts, from within and outside the country, conducted the census in Selous-Mikumi and Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystems, the areas which are important strongholds for elephants in Tanzania.

The results of this census, indicate that the elephant populations in the two ecosystems (Selous-Mikumi and Ruaha-Rungwa) are 13,084 and 20 090, respectively. These figures indicate a notable decline in populations in these ecosystems, compared with previous censuses.

Statistics from previous censuses indicate that in 1976 the Selous-Mikumi Ecosystem had 109,419 elephants. This number dropped dramatically to 22 208 in 1991 following a wave of poaching that emerged between 1984 and 1989. This number, however, rose to 70,406 in 2006 following a countrywide ‘Operation Uhai’ that was launched in 1989 and ended 1990 along with international conservation efforts which included termination of the ivory trade. 

The population of elephants in this ecosystem has dropped again in recent years: in 2009 the number of elephants stood at 38,975, while right now, the number has further dropped to 13,084. A similar situation appears in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem where the 1990 census recorded 11,712 elephants due to a wave of poaching. This number increased to 35,461 in 2006, but as of now only 20,090 remain.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

These results indicate that elephant population in the Selous -Mikumi Ecosystem has declined by 66 percent, from the 2009 population, which was 38,975 elephants. On the other hand, the population in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem, has declined by 36.5 percent from the population that was recorded in 2009, i.e. 31,625 elephants.

This decrease in elephant population is verified by a number of dead bodies that were counted during the census exercise. Some 6,516 and 3,496 carcasses were counted in Selous- Mikumi and Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystems, respectively. In this exercise, the proportion between the live elephants and carcasses which were counted (carcass ratio) were used as criteria to establish the causes of the deaths. Under normal conditions, the ratio of 7-8 percent indicates natural mortality such as diseases and old age. The remaining proportion indicates that the mortalities were non-natural.

The recent census, demonstrates a ratio of 30 percent of elephants for Selous-Mikumi ecosystem and 14.6 percent for Rungwa-Ruaha Ecosystem. These results indicate that, a large number of elephant deaths are non-natural deaths. A detailed analysis has revealed that 95 and 85 percent of carcasses observed in Selous-Mikumi and Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystems had more than 18 months. This is a clear indication that the recent efforts made by the government including strengthening of patrols and conducting numerous special operations have significantly reduced a wave of poaching.

The seizures of elephant tusks weighing 32,987 kilograms, within and outside the country, between 2008 to September 2013, is a sign that poaching is one of the main reasons for the decrease of elephant populations in the country. The increase of livestock grazing in protected areas and wildlife corridors is another contributing factor to the demise of elephants. For instance, Kilombero Game Controlled Areas, a part of the Selous–Mikumi Ecosystem, had about 2,080 elephants in the 2002 census, but none was recorded in the recent census.

Increased demand for ivory, particularly in the Far East countries and, therefore, price increase is a catalyst and a key determinant for the recent widespread elephant poaching.

The census results we have released today, is clear evidence that poaching of elephants has reached unprecedented levels. In response to this unimpressive situation, my Ministry is determined to intensify the protection of wildlife in collaboration with other stakeholders including defense and security forces, regional and international institutions. The Ministry will also promote education and adopt strategies aiming at involving the public in conservation efforts.

In view of maintaining and enhancing conservation efforts, my Ministry is finalizing the process of establishing an autonomous body – Tanzania Wildlife Authority. In addition, the wildlife conservation laws are being reviewed in order to allow adoption of a paramilitary system among the employees of the wildlife sector.

Once again, the Ministry would like to recognize and thank all donors who made this census possible. The cost for this census was U.S. $ 160,000. Funds were contributed by the Government and donors. The donors were: the German Technical Assistance (GIZ) via Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the SPANEST TANAPA Project.

Source: www.MellowswanAfrica.org

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com