FZS, TATO, TANAPA partnership curbs subsistence poaching in Serengeti

18Oct 2018
By Guardian Reporter
Arusha
The Guardian
FZS, TATO, TANAPA partnership curbs subsistence poaching in Serengeti

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) often seen as appropriate form for financing big infrastructure projects are also suitable in wildlife conservation projects, a recent example in Serengeti National Park has proved.

Wildebeests crossing Mara River during the annual migration to Serengeti National Park.

In 2017, a handful of tour operators, Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and Serengeti National Park (SENAPA) joined forces to fight against silent but yet deadly form of poaching in the Serengeti.

Now 16 months down the lane, the PPPs dubbed the Serengeti De-snaring Programme has proved to be an apt model to save wildlife population in Serengeti, the Tanzania’s flagship national park. De-snaring Progamme’, the first of its kind, had an objective of removing the widespread snares set by local hunters seeking wild game for bush meat within the Serengeti National Park and beyond.

The FZS Project Manager, Erik Winberg said the $160,000 backed programme sponsored by tour operators operating in the Serengeti has successfully managed to collect 17,536 snares, 157 animals released alive, 125 poacher camps dismantled and 32 poachers arrested.

Winberg who was updating tourism stakeholders during Mwalimu Nyerere day commemoration meeting organized by Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) with a theme of 'Commemoration of Mwalimu's unrivalled contribution to conservation,' said the Serengeti PPP has contributed towards nurturing Mwalimu’s conservation ideals.

“It’s a model which many other tour operators and conservation authorities should follow,” said the FZS Project Manager.

TATO’s Councillor spearheading the conservation drive who is also the volunteer programme Coordinator, Vesna Tibaijuka said that tourism stakeholders have invested heavily to save wildlife which is their core business.

“At some point, subsistence poaching in Serengeti has become large- scale and commercial, putting the country’s flagship national park, under renewed pressure, after a lull of two years,” Tibaijuka noted.

She said wildlife in the Serengeti, which is a world heritage site, had started to recover from a decade-long ivory poaching spree, which almost brought the elephant and rhino population to extinction.

As if that is not enough, the probably forgotten, silent but deadly bush meat poaching within the Serengeti Park is now putting the world’s greatest annual wildlife migration across East Africa's plains under new threat, the TATO Councillor added.

The planet’s largest wildlife migration -- the annual loop of two million wildebeest and other mammals across Tanzania’s legendary national park of Serengeti and Kenya’s renowned Maasai Mara Reserve -- is a key tourist lure, generating multi-million-dollar annually.

The Serengeti National Park Chief Warden, William Mwakilema confirmed that of late, the neglected subsistence poaching was becoming a real threat, as local people have adopted wire snares to catch massive animals indiscriminately, thanks to human population growth.

TANAPA Director General, Allan Kijazi commended the partnership, saying such kind of cooperation was needed for the conservation drive to be sustainable.

“I would like to praise Tanapa for living the legacy of Mwalimu Nyerere on conservation drive. TATO members have always been grateful for the job well done in our national parks and even more importantly for the recent addition of new parks,” TATO’s CEO, Sirili Akko said.