They made the suggestion at the just-concluded capacity-building workshop for anti-poaching officers from security organs—the Tanzania Police Force, Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and national wildlife management authorities such as Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) and Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa).
The five-day forum was meant to provide a platform for players in the sector to extensively discuss a wide range of issues on how to contain poaching in the country’s national parks and game reserves.
Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Adolph Mkenda said the forum came at the time when poaching remained a serious challenge that threatens to wipe some of the most vulnerable species off the face of the earth such as elephants and rhinos.
Prof Mkenda said that said that the decrease is due to enhanced anti-poaching activities involving multi-sectoral organs.
He revealed that there has been significant success in the war against poaching with the number of elephants killed last year dropping to 23 from 194 in the preceding year.
“In the entire period, some 211 elephant tusks and 413 pieces of the same were seized by authorities together with 355 arms and 20,000 rounds of ammunitions,” Mkenda said.
According to him, information from conservation agencies indicated that there was increase in the number of wildlife in a number of parks and reserves including the Selous Game Reserve which has been devastated by poaching in recent years.
He added: “There is tremendous increase in the number of animals in the Selous and the Ruaha National Park but we should not relent in the fight against poaching.”
Director of the Pams Foundation, which organized the training, Elisifa Ngowi said the target is to use the multi security agencies approach to achieve zero killing of the animals by 2024.
“As foundation, we’re determined to enable a world in which wildlife and wild places are secure and communities have the support necessary to live safely and in harmony with wildlife.”
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Simon Sirro called for the anti-poaching unit to use intelligence information to identify the poaching cartel and bring the suspects to court.
He also urges the anti-poaching officials to be well-equipped with updated skills to deal with poachers, taking into account that they have been changing their tactics on daily basis to accomplish their goals.
According to chief of the Tanzania police force, trust is one of the key aspects when executing their duties for better results.
“It is high time for people working in the anti-poaching unit to be patriotic as natural resources are not for personal interest but for the national interest,” he said, describing poaching is a national priority crime, and as the fourth crime in the world after drug, arms, and human trafficking.
The official cited poaching as a problem for a number of different reasons, which extend far beyond the popular view that the only reason we fight poaching is to save the life of an animal here or there.
The IGP also commended Pams Foundation for supporting the anti-poaching activities through provision of working tools and training for staffs, encouraging other organizations to emulate the spirit.
One of the participants at the workshop, Juma Julius from Customs—Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Tunduma says the platform was an eye-opener that would help to reinforce network with key players in the anti-poaching across the country.
Late last year, the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) and Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) embarked on an aerial wildlife census within Selous-Mikumi ecosystem to establish the number of big game as well as poaching activities.
The exercise conducted in collaboration with Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) was part of the Selous Ecosystem Conservation and Development Program (SECAD) that is funded through Germany’s KfW Development Bank.
The census organisers noted that the most recent surge in poaching during the late 2000s and early 2010, driven by soaring demand for ivory, reduced elephant population estimates in 2014 to jus 14,867.
Selous Game Reserve was placed on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 2014 mainly due to the poaching threat.