(Xinhua) -- Tanzania has released
elephant population estimates from a country-wide aerial survey
which shows that elephant population has declined by 60 per cent
Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania’s Minister for
Natural Resources and Tourism, disclosed that major losses
occurred in the Selous-Mikumi, Ruaha-Rungwa and Malagarasi
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
"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
The surveyed ecosystems were Serengeti, Tarangire-Manyara,
Katavi-Rukwa, Burigi-Biharamulo, Malagarasi-Muyowosi, Selous-
Mikumi and Ruaha-Rungwa, Mkomazi and Saadani.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
Conservationists say an elephant without tusks is a crippled
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.
Elephant poaching on the rise in most Mozambique national