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Conservators have become poachers, pastoralists assert

14th September 2013
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Ngorongoro

A cross-section of Ngorongoro based pastoralists blame modern conservation as a key factor towards rising wildlife poaching in national parks and game reserves.

Speaking here yesterday pastoralists suggested the need for the government to work on the challenge, saying wildlife modern conservation techniques had failed to scale-down poaching.

“It is difficult to differentiate the poacher and the conservator,” a resident said, noting that local people have seen people who pretend to be conservators of the country’s wildlife resources, but they don’t do so.

“One day, I witnessed twelve carcasses of elephants killed in the conserved area. The situation is terrible. Ordinary people like me fail to understand what conservators do,” said James ole Palkani.

Palkani who lives close to the Serengeti National Park in Ololosokwan village in Loliondo described the situation as very serious that needs to be addressed.

“The Maasai have been living with wildlife for many years, without any problem, taking into account that we don’t eat wild meat. But since the introduction of so-called modern conservation techniques things have changed for the worse,” he said.

Another villager said wildlife conservators use sophisticated tools in their work, but the number of killed wildlife kept on increasing on a daily basis.

“It is so sad to see elephants being killed by people who have been commissioned to protect them,” he said.

“These modern conservation techniques are not for protecting but killing wild animals. As pastoralists, we are wondering why the government continues to use so called modern conservation techniques, which have failed to address the problem,” said Charles ole Ndagoya.

Ndagoya who head the Ngorongoro-based Paralegal and Human Rights Organization, suggested that the government comes up with a solution that would sufficiently address the challenge.

He said it was high time for the government and other stakeholders to go back to the use of traditional ways of addressing poaching which is posing a serious threat to elephants and other large mammals like rhinos.

Ndagoya also queried government action of giving land to supposed investors, who are hardly investing anything other than hunting wildlife in protected areas.

Citing examples, the activist said that in Loliondo there were a number of rhinos but none can be cited at present. “And this happens at at time when the government has given the mandate to conservators to protect the wildlife. But we are fully aware that wild animals are killed by people who have been commissioned to take care of the animals.”

H e said that in the good old days wild animals mingled with domesticated animals like cattle, and they didn’t fear a human being, but now it’s not the case. “We have created fear among wild animals…” he said, imploring the government to come up with a participatory approach.

The local people would be allowed and be part of the conservation team, the activist explained. “Let’s give room for local people to use the skills that they used all along to protect wildlife.”

It is estimated that Tanzania loses three elephants per day due to poaching, a disquieting trend that threatens to wipe out wildlife attractions within the current decade. 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN