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Elephant in Serengeti Tanzania | Coastweek

SERENGETI Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Elephant family [left] walking in the Serengeti National Park, north Tanzania. Male African Bush Elephant [right] in Serengeti. As Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site, the Serengeti is famous for its annual migration of millions of wildebeests and other wild animals between July and October. PHOTOS - ZHANG PING [XINHUA] and IKIWANER [WIKIPEDIA]

Tanzania elephant population declines by 60 per cent: survey

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has released elephant population estimates from a country-wide aerial survey which shows that elephant population has declined by 60 per cent since 2009.

Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, disclosed that major losses occurred in the Selous-Mikumi, Ruaha-Rungwa and Malagarasi Muyowosi ecosystems.

He said the situation accounts for the majority of the elephant population decline, while two northern ecosystems Serengeti and Tarangire-Manyara showed encouraging increases.

Nyalandu said the final results of the 2014 countrywide elephant census show that the country has a total elephant population of 43,521, compared to the 2009 census of 109,051 elephants in the East African nation.

The minister said in Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem, more than 10,000 elephants disappeared.

"This has confused even researchers as in the survey they only counted more than 8,000 elephants, contrary to the number recorded in 2013, whereby there were more than 24,000 elephants.

"It is not clear whether those elephants have been killed or migrated into other ecosystems," Nyalandu said, adding that the number of elephants which were found dead for natural death was below 100 as it was in 2013 census.

"This is a shocking result as numbers have declined by 60 percent in just five years," said Andre Baumgarten of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).

"The most likely cause of decline is a dramatic upsurge in poaching, which Tanzania has been struggling to contend with over recent years due to insufficient resources for protected area management," he said.

He however said that FZS would continue to provide adaptive support to partners on the management, monitoring and protection with particular focus on improved law enforcement and anti- poaching through training and provision of resources.

Dr. Simon Mduma, Director General of the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), said the census covered all of Tanzania’s key elephant ecosystems as part of an ambitious initiative funded by Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to assess the current state of elephant populations across Africa.

He said the census sought to assess the size and distribution of the country’s elephant population and provide Tanzania and other players with accurate and reliable data to inform long-term conservation management.

The census was conducted by TAWIRI in collaboration with FZS, and Vulcan Inc, covering an area of 268,692 square kilometers, which is 28.3 percent of the entire country landmass.

The surveyed ecosystems were Serengeti, Tarangire-Manyara, Katavi-Rukwa, Burigi-Biharamulo, Malagarasi-Muyowosi, Selous- Mikumi and Ruaha-Rungwa, Mkomazi and Saadani.

MARCH 2015:

Corruption behind increasing Tanzania wildlife poaching incidents: report

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A fresh report on the status of Tanzania’s wildlife sector cited corruption as one of the reasons behind the increasing incidents of wildlife poaching in the East African nation.

The 82-page report, which was released here, came after a study carried out by the Arusha NGO Network (ANGONET) in collaboration with Kepa, a Finnish NGO Platform.

Some wildlife officials have been implicated with corruption practices in the report titled "State of corporate social responsibility in the wildlife sector".

Joanita Mlay, one of the researchers who took part in the study, said majority of the respondents associated light fines or sentences that were imposed to poachers on one hand and heavy fines to ordinary community members who were involved in minor offenses on the other hand.

"In some cases courts granted bail to the accused individuals as provided by relevant laws.

"This provision gave opportunity for bailed individuals enough time to interfere with cases through corruption and ultimately resulting into chances of such cases being ruled out in favor of culprits," the researcher said.

"In circumstances where on one hand prosecutors felt that there existed corruption between magistrates and suspects, they were discouraged to follow up the cases," said Peter Aham, executive chairman of ANGONET.

"On the other hand when bribery was felt to prevail between game officers and the accused, informers avoided intimidation and shunned away from attending courts," he said.

Aham revealed that some respondents attributed prevailing interception of trophies in foreign countries but believed to originate from Tanzania to corruption.

"They wondered why there has been many reports on interceptions on consignments of elephant ivory either on the way to foreign countries or already packed and ready for export at exist points than reports on poachers’ intercepted before they have killed the animals," he said.

"All what were happening were attributed to corruption unless the actors could prove otherwise," the official said.

Other shortfalls shown in the report include lack of accountability to both wildlife management leaders and local authority leaders.

The report proposed the need for the wildlife management and community-based forest management at the village level to be integrated so that the villages can gain benefits of the resources from their land.

The report also called on stakeholders to come up with strategies for effective community engagement in the process of establishment of the investments.

Benefit sharing should be developed to ensure that profits are equitably distributed to offset the conservation-induced cost and should trickle down to households which directly suffer from the wildlife impacts.

MARCH 2015:

African elephant situation may be worse than census show: experts

KASANE, Botswana (Xinhua) -- The African elephants situation may worse than what population data show, experts from International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said on Monday after the African Elephant Meeting in Kasane, Northern Botswana.

Data of the population of Africa’s elephants are incomplete in Central Africa as only small percentage of the region has been surveyed. This is because forest elephants are very hard to be surveyed.

Most data in the region come from Gabon, but for DR Congo, Congo, Central Africa Republic they don’t have reliable data, said Jason Bell, director of southern Africa region of IFAW, who is also the program director for elephants.

Some numbers of the elephants population are given by governments, which may also lead to inaccurate data, he said.

The director said there could be potential loss behind incomplete data.

A representative from Gabon expressed his concern in the meeting they have lost far more elephants than data show.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Monday reveled the latest preliminary statistics of elephants population in Africa on the summit, which shows population in East Africa sharply decreased of more than 50,000 from 2006 to 2013.

The data which still need to be reviewed showed from 2006 to 2013 the population remains stable in Central Africa, slightly decreased in Southern Africa.

While the director said the data of East Africa reflect pretty accurate trend as it is one of the best surveyed regions.

The decline of elephants is because they have significant poaching, especially in Tanzania.

Southern Africa has much better ability on the ground in most countries, for example, most southern Africa elephants are in Botswana which has good capacity on the ground to deal with poaching.

However, he said there is a trends that poaching waves in Eastern Africa are slowly moving to the South like Zambia.

Potential poaching in the region in the future could be big problems, he said.

Michael Wamithi, adviser of IFAW, said Botswana’s neighbor South Africa is losing over 1,000 rhinos a year, before that it is said the country protected well on elephants and rhinos.

In this way, once elephant poachers actually go to the region, it may suffered loss.

Cases in some countries have already showed poacher can come from far across the countries.

Because demand and price for ivories are going up, criminals may be attracted and are hard to be stopped.

The situation of African elephants are getting worse, said the expert.


Tanzania to study on elephants without tusks

DODOMA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is to carry out an extensive research on finding reasons behind an increasing number of elephants which have no tusks in the country’s national parks.

Mahmoud Hassan Mgimwa, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism told the national assembly here on Tuesday that all elephants born without tusks, but after 18 months a male elephant get its tusks while a female one get them at between 24 and 30 months.

He however said due to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) some elephants fail to get its tusks.

DNA is a complex molecule that contains all of the information necessary to build and maintain an organism.

Mgimwa admitted that there are reports which show the increasing number of tuskless elephants.

According to the official, the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) has been carrying out an ongoing research on the reasons as why there is an increasing number tuskless elephants in Tanzania’s national parks particularly in Mikumi, Ruaha and Katavi.

In the survey carried out at the Mikumi National Park in January, February, May and June, 2014, 16 groups of an average of 59 jumbos were involved.

A total of 950 elephants took part in the study and the findings show that 97 elephants (an average of six elephants per group), which is about 10.21 per cent, are tuskless.

"This number is within the normal spectrum of tuskless elephants in other African countries which are from two percent to 20 percent," the minister said, adding that preliminary investigation show that there is increasing number of tuskless elephants in the country’s wildlife sanctuaries.

"But, the study was only meant to prove the reports on the increasing number of tuskless elephants and wasn’t meant to show that the increase had a relation with poaching incidents happening in our national parks, and also it wasn’t meant to show the scale of the problem across the country and its impacts," he said.

"By using this preliminary survey, the government will set aside a certain amount of money for carrying out an extensive study to know the reasons for the increasing number tuskless elephants," the deputy minister said.

Mgimwa said that in the past, game rangers used to kill elephants which have no tusks, "but we stopped that and this might be a reason for the increasing number tuskless elephants."

He said in elephants, tusks are used to dig for food and water, dig up trees and branches and move them around, and are for self defense and for sexual display.

However, recent studies carried out across Africa and the world at large has shown that tuskless elephants are on the increase.

Conservationists say an elephant without tusks is a crippled elephant.

They say that while being tuskless is better than being dead, they hope that less drastic ways can be found to protect elephants against poachers.


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