“We are working to review the Wildlife Conservation Act, 2009 to be able to impose a total ban the exports of wild animals. The three years’ ban will not be lifted,” said Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Dr Hamis Kigwangala.
A ministerial meeting with stakeholders last year showed the government has lost about 2.5trn/- in revenue since the ban was imposed in March 2016.
Earlier, the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Constantine Kanyasu said the government had in 2016 imposed the ban on exports of live animals following exporters’ violation of the Wildlife Conservation Act (No. 5 of 2009) as the exercise wasn’t done according to approved procedures, which include paying tax.
The ban was purposely meant to protect the country’s resources including wild animals, he said, noting that under the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) the government was implementing a program to improve Amani Nature Reserve and the Fanusi butterfly farm.
Improvements include construction of roads, guest houses, camp sites and nature trails, where these improvement will also benefit more than 20 villages surrounding the area, he elaborated.
Fanusi village in Kisiwani ward, Muheza district is blessed with many beautiful and rare native butterflies that are kept in a special farm under ‘the Amani Butterfly Project’ of the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG).
The government will reimburse all the money paid by wildlife exporters to its agencies in various fees before an abrupt ban on animal exports was imposed, he said.
The deputy minister was responding to a question by Muheza MP, Adadi Rajabu (CCM) who wanted to know reasons behind the government ban on exports of native butterflies. Butterfly farming and export was a source of income to many women under the project, the legislator noted, demanding to know if the government was planning to lift the ban on live wild animals including native butterflies.
Imposing the ban, the then Natural Resources and Tourism minister, Prof Jumanne Maghembe said some wild animals such as reptiles and giraffes were exported illegally.
He also cited cases where monkey cargoes had been intercepted by the government while being illegally shipped out to be used for medical research, insisting that the business would not have benefitted the country.
Enock Balilemwa, the chairman of the Tanzania Wildlife Exporters Association (TWEA), said the ban was not fair to traders of live animals because cases which had been cited when the government imposed the ban did not involve licensed traders.
The government has been incurring lots of costs in killing quelea quelea. In 2016, it hired an aircraft from Kenya to kill 132 jackals. The money would have been saved if wild animal exporters were allowed to hunt the animals and sell them abroad, the stakeholder underlined.