The government has been urged to increase the fines imposed on elephant poachers or trophy traffickers so as to curb the wanton killing of jumbos and improve tourism.
Speaking in an interview over the phone, Said Mulimila, an expert in tourism said the prevailing fines imposed on jumbo killing cuplrits is too low hence luring more people to engage in the illegal trade.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism up to March 2010 a total of 375 illegal poachers were caught and fined merely 33.1m/-.
“If you take the total fine paid and divide it by the number of poachers, you will find that the amount paid by each culprit was very little,” Mulimila said.
The economy of Tanzania largely depends on wildlife tourism, he said, adding that the killing of the tuskers might will reduce the number of travelers to the country.
“We all understand that many tourists come here to see animals such as elephants. If all are killed, the tourists will go to other countries,” he said.
He also said there is a need to speed up implementation of the national elephant management plan which is geared to reduce human–elephant conflicts and save the money spent to console the victims.
According to him the government spends millions of money as consolation fee to people and crops affected by the jumbos.
Up to 2010 the government spent over 155m/- as consolation fee to people affected by the animals in Nanyumbu, Masasi, Kilwa, Dodoma, Iramba, Bahi, Manyoni, Singida Rural and Morogoro Rural districts.
Other districts where victims were compensated were Mkuranga, Shinyanga, Kigoma, Bukoba, Tunduru, Kilombero, Ruangwa, Kondoa, Misenyi, Liwale and Serengeti.
Already Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri) has launched a National Elephant Management Plan which will end in two years to come.
According to the institute, rapidly growing human population is putting much pressure on large mammals such as elephants, hence the plan is set to address the challenges facing the jumbos.
The institute explained that since 1984, the country has been facing serious challenges in conserving elephants and in ensuring equitable benefits to both the tuskers other wildlife and the people.