Natural Resources and Tourism deputy minister Lazaro Nyalandu has directed Tanzania National Parks Board of Trustees to provide thorough explanations on increasing poaching and mining activities in country’s national parks which threatened tourism business.
Nyalandu said there were reports that some people were conducting small scale mining in Serengeti National Park and they were being guarded by police and game wardens.
Speaking to journalists here yesterday Nyalandu said that poaching activities in national parks and game reserves were getting worse and there was a sophisticated international criminal syndicate conducting the crime in the country.
He directed the Tanapa Board of Trustees to issue a report on allegations that there were some workers from the national park allegedly cooperating with poachers.
He said according to reports between 1989 and 2010, a quarter of elephant tusks which were seized in the world were confirmed through DNA tests to be from Tanzania.
The reports further said that 42 percent of elephants in Selous Game reserve and Mikumi National Park have disappeared in the past three years which is equivalent to 31,348 elephants which were killed.
"It is disappointing that while poaching is on increase there are reports that there were small scales mining activities going on in Serengeti national park,” Nyalandu said.
He said that he leant about the news of mining activities being carried out in Serengeti National park from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals last week.
"The Ministry of Energy also informed me that it has not issued a mining or exploration license in Serengeti National park, thus the activities were being carried out illegally…this is a threat to the tourism sector in the country,” Nyalandu said.
He added: “Because my ministry has not issued any license for exploration or mining activities I request you to work on the matter to establish the truth,” Nyalandu quoted part of the letter submitted to him by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
Nyalandu said there were possibilities that the network of former OCD for Mugumu SSP Paul Mng'ong'o and (DSO), Said Said who were arrested on March this year for carrying out mining activities in the national park was still existing.
According to Nyalandu the two former police officers were arrested with police vehicle PT 1862 which was driven by Police with Number E933 corporal Philimatus and five other people.
Serengeti National Park is being supervised by the World Heritage Committee under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Tanzania government is responsible for safeguarding the heritage.