Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resource and Tourism, Major General Gaudence Milanzi issued the warning when wrapping a training for 68 paramilitary officers from Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA).
The paramilitary training, which is part of the wildlife watchdog to reinforce its fight against poaching, was held in Mlele area in Katavi Region.
The PS said that government would take serious action against people who had encroached into protected areas.
“Our task is to ensure that wildlife resources continue to thrive for the current and future generation…so encroaching into the protected areas will be taken as a serious crime and perpetuators will heavily punished,” the official stressed.
Milanzi denounced that the law will be taken to anyone who shall dare to get into national parks, game reserves, and forest reserves.
“Our intention is not to fight with citizenry, we don’t intend to bring any atrocities to any one or acknowledge someone by what we are doing, what we are doing is following the orders and I that insist grazing cattle in the protected areas is unacceptable,” the official said.
Director general for TANAPA Alan Kijazi said the initiatives that had been taken to strengthen security had proven worthy in fighting poaching in the country, which in recent years had witnessed the plummeting number of elephants in the wilderness.
He however said that collective efforts were highly needed in addressing wildlife poaching. “As TANAPA we’re trying to heighten the fight against the vice and poachers have been inventing new ways…that’s why I am saying that more players are needed in this fight,” Kijazi said.
He also commended key players who had been supporting Tanzania’s endeavours in fighting poaching including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through a project known as ‘Strengthening the Protected Area Network in Southern Tanzania’ (SPANEST). SPANEST project is designed to lift the barriers to establishment of a landscape approach to the management of biodiversity.
Chief conservator of NCAA, Fred Manongi said paramilitary training were important at this time when the country was overwhelmed by poaching incidents.
Director of Wildlife Division, Prof Alexander Songoro also said that paramilitary system had contributed to the reduction of poaching incidents compared to the past.
UNDP official, Getrude Lyatuu said that the new approach deployed in conserving wildlife resources had started building confidence amongst development partners and some of them had shown interest in supporting Tanzania’s endeavours to conserve wildlife resources.