TAWA’s northwest zonal chief Augustino Ngimilanga attributed the success of the operation to routine patrols carried out by his officers inside the 50,000 square kilometer reserve.
“We have stepped up these patrols in the area and have recently also introduced patrol boats for more efficiency,” Ngimilanga said here yesterday.
He explained that poaching, logging, and illegal fishing are common crimes committed inside the Selous.
TAWA is the institution responsible for ensuring sustainable management of wildlife resources and biodiversity conservation outside officially-designated national parks and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
According to Ngimilanga, poachers are now using long plastic trumpets, commonly referred to as ‘vuvuzelas’, and torches to confuse and ultimately kill wild animals inside the Selous.
“These criminals have designed a new method of killing our animals, but we will continue hunting them down,” he said.
The TAWA boss disclosed that the agency has filed 92 poaching-related cases at the Kilombero magistrate’s court, with 18 suspects already convicted.
An official with Mkwawa Hunting Safaris, Benson Kibonde, underscored the importance of protecting and conserving the Selous Game Reserve due to its diverse range of wildlife species and its role as a catchment area for the Kilombero and Rufiji rivers.
Meanwhile, according to TAWA spokesperson Twaha Twaibu, 25 per cent of revenue accrued from game fees goes to communities in the areas where the hunting takes place.
Currently, local communities receive $2 million annually from trophy hunting activities, of which 60 per cent supports community development projects and the remaining 40 per cent is used to support conservation activities within game reserves like the Selous.
“Besides that, hunting companies are obliged to give jobs to members of local communities residing near the hunting blocks,” Twaibu said.
He added that more than 1,500 people were permanently employed in the non-consumptive sector two years ago, while another 2.4 million are recruited on part-time basis.
The hunting industry is an important sub-sector in Tanzania which assuredly generates between $20 and $80 million in direct government revenue annually.
This monetary support excludes indirect contributions to other parts of the economy like airlines, pre and post-safari accommodation and shopping.