Wildlife Poaching A National Disaster In Tanzania

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Elephant Herd Pushed Toward Extinction

A leading Arusha based tourism agency, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) is pushing the government to declare wildlife poaching a national disaster.

The multi-billion-dollar tourism firms Chairman Willy Chambullo said mid this week in the region during the firms general meeting that the continued increase of illegal elephants and rhino killings results from the increased high ivory demand at the global market particularly, Asian countries.

elephant conservation Tanzania

Chambullo said his firm is pushing the state to declare poaching incidents a ‘national disaster’ in order to help halt such illegal practice on the country’s natural tourism attractions. He said TATO wants to forge partnership with the government to help fight against illegal poaching.

“Poaching is the greatest challenge in our time as it threatens tourism industry in the country which is likely to halt the country’s economic growth.”

The global ivory-poaching crisis has seen Tanzania’s elephant numbers decline from an estimated 109,000 in 2009 to approximately between 35,000 and 60,000 by the end of last year. 

“Tourism operators in the country are likely to close down their businesses if elephants and rhinos are all wiped out. This nature has prompted us to form a special committee to oversee an awareness and anti-poaching campaign amongst our members and the public at large” he said.

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TATO awareness and anti-poaching campaign that was launched last year has organized several awareness and anti-poaching forums amongst youths and elderly throughout the country. The Chairman also disclosed that TATO was working on the modalities to form a marketing agency in partnership with the government based in foreign countries to oversee the country’s tour operations in all alien countries.

Despite poaching challenges, the country tourism sector is said to earn the nation $1.7 billion last year alone from more than one million tourists. This direct earnings from tourism in the long value chain has continued to boost the country’s economic growth.
Tanzania’s tourism sector is also among the fastest growing sectors with great economic potential employing the majority of youths and acting as a stimulus to other sectors like agriculture.

Other tourist countries in Africa with a higher record of tourists include Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa.

Source: http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=70625

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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 The Leading Source Of Illegal Ivory In East Africa

Kenya Losing More Elephants Than Reported

Tanzania was the leading source of illegal ivory in the East African region last year, a new report by Interpol has shown. By comparison, Kenya faced much lower rates of poaching in 2013 partly due to extensive law enforcement and operations by the government (however, a new census this week shows that hundreds of elephants are unaccounted for in just one national park).

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At the same time, the port of Mombasa accounted for the largest volume of seizures in Africa with a total of over 10 tons of illegal ivory intercepted between January and October 2013. According to the report which was released Wednesday, approximately 30 elephants are killed in Tanzania daily amounting to more than 10,000 jumbos annually.

“A significant portion of ivory illicitly trafficked to international markets especially in Asia is derived from elephant populations in Tanzania,” said the report.

An estimated 22,000 elephants were killed illegally continent wide in 2012 representing a slight reduction from the estimated 25,000 jumbos poached in 2011. (Although some report that up to 35,000 elephants are killed illegally each year.)

About 35,000 – 40,000 Elephants Killed Last Year 

Tanzania’s elephant population has continued to plummet in recent years and in Selous Game reserve, which boasted the world’s second-largest elephant population at 70,000 elephants in 2006. The numbers have fallen to an estimated 39,000 elephants in 2009 and currently stand at 13,084 elephants.

“Moreover, the elephant population in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park has declined by 44 percent since 2006 and now numbers approximately 20,090,” the reports further adds.

The report which was launched at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi by Mr. David Higgins of Environmental Crime programme also revealed that that in 2013, global large-scale ivory seizures reached record levels and many of these seizures occurred in East Africa or in transit to Asia with an East African origin.

“Eighteen large-scale seizures (of over 500 kilogrammes) accounted for 41.6 tonnes of illicit ivory in 2013, these seizures represents increases over previous years mirroring heightened rates of elephant poaching throughout Africa,” the Interpol reports adds.

While poaching in Kenya has reduced due to more pressure by security agents on poachers, the country is being used as a transit route with the port of Mombasa becoming a favourite for poachers. Interpol says Uganda though a landlocked country is also becoming a transit route for illegal ivory mostly from Tanzania.

“Of particular interest is the use of Uganda, a landlocked country as a transit point for Tanzanian ivory which is packaged in shipping containers and transported to the port of Mombasa in Kenya for onward international transport,” the report reveals.

elephant conservation Tanzania

Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade

The majority of intercepted ivory has occurred in maritime ports with the loot hidden in shipment containers usually concealed by other lawful goods. Mr Higgins called for a new approach in combating poaching and illegal animal trophies trade saying the same was linked to fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

“We need to be more innovative, we need to cooperate to win this war,” he said while flanked by the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya Mr David Angell.

On his part, Mr Angell said, “we must take urgent and decisive action to tackle the illegal wildlife trade and address the current poaching crisis.”

Source: http://mobile.nation.co.ke/news/Tanzania-leads-region-in-illegal-ivory–says-Interpol/-/1950946/2222766/-/format/xhtml/-/k6dmraz/-/index.html

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.

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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.

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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