The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Adolph Mkenda said in Dodoma yesterday that the decrease is due to enhanced anti-poaching activities involving multisectoral organs.
In the entire period, 211 elephant tusks and 413 pieces of the same were seized by authorities together with 355 arms and 20,000 rounds of ammunition, Mkenda said.
The PS spoke when opening a capacity-building workshop for anti-poaching officers from security organs namely the Tanzania Police Force, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and national wildlife management authorities.
He said information from conservation agencies indicated that there was an increase in the number of wildlife in a number of parks and reserves including the Selous Game Reserve which was devastated by poaching in previous years.
“There is a 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,” he declared.
Elisifa Ngowi, the director of the Pams Foundation which organized the training, said the target is to use a multiple security agencies approach to achieve zero killing of protected animals by 2024.
Late last year, the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), the 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 and get a closer view of poaching activities.
The exercise conducted in collaboration with the 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 just 14,867.
Selous Game Reserve was placed on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 2014 mainly due to the poaching threat.