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Tanzania wages war against pastoralists grazing in national parks

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has announced a fresh war against pastoralists who are taking livestock into the national parks, saying the vice has been threatening to kill the country’s sanctuaries.

Jumanne Maghembe, Tanzania’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism said on Sunday that Serengeti National Park is among the highly affected parks with livestock grazing in the east African nation.

The Tanzania’s oldest and second largest park after Ruaha National Park is also the UNESCO World Heritage Site located in northern Tanzania.

"We’re going well with the fight against wildlife poaching, but the remaining serious war is rampant grazing, which threatens our conservation efforts. Reports say that pastoralists have been taking livestock into the protected areas," the minister said.

He said that the government will leave no stone unturned in the new fight against pastoralists, who have been sneaking into the national parks for pastures.

"We are aware of the challenge and we are taking all the necessary measures to ensure that our parks are free from trespassers and encroachers," he said, adding that livestock found inside the park will be confiscated and the owner will be taken to court for further action.

The minister also cited illegal logging and charcoal making as another challenge facing wildlife conservation efforts in Tanzania.

Tanzania’s tourism sector brings in 2 billion U.S. dollars per year and contributes 12.2 percent of employment in the east African nation.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council Tanzania Country Report, 90 percent of tourists visiting Tanzania visit national parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the spice island of Zanzibar.


Tanzania’s new national parks chairman vows to fight poaching

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The newly appointed chairman of Tanzania’s national parks, a retired army general, on Friday vowed to use a paramilitary unit in the fight against poaching.

George Waitara, former Chief of Defence Forces with the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF), declared that the days of poachers are numbered.

President John Magufuli in November last year appointed General Waitara chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA).

Waitara said his team will also focus on resolving the wildlife-livestock conflicts and a host of other problems plaguing the country’s national parks.

He also made it clear that TANAPA will not tolerate dishonest and unscrupulous officials.

Jumanne Maghembe, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, has challenged the TANAPA Board of Directors to hit the ground running in resolving wildlife-livestock conflicts, promoting tourism, and combating poaching.

Seven poachers arrested in Tanzania’s wildlife protected area

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian game rangers on Friday arrested seven poachers and seized a truck full of timber and logs in a wildlife protected area during an operation.

Omari Tofiki, Chairman of Wami-Mbiki Wildlife Management Area, said the area has become an epicenter of poachers, illegal timber and logging businesses.

The Wami-Mbiki Wildlife Management Area covers part of Bagamoyo District in Coast Region and Mvomero District in Morogoro Region.

Tofiki added that poaching has of late become frequent, threatening the survival of wildlife and forest in the area.

"We decided to conduct this special operation to protect the area from poaching and abuse of natural resources," said Tofiki.

He said in order to save the area, the government has to provide financial support and vehicles for patrols in the management area.

"We fail to do regular patrols because we don’t have vehicles to cover all the area,"said Tofiki.

He said the area cannot sustain itself due to poor supervision of resources done by previous leaders.

Tanzanian officials, wildlife advocates hail China’s ivory ban

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania welcomed China’s latest decision to ban ivory trade and processing activities, saying the move marked a historic milestone in efforts to save the giant mammals from poaching.

The country’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Jumanne Maghembe said the move would reduce costs African countries injected in the fight against poaching activities.

China on December 30 announced that it will gradually stop the processing and sales of ivories for commercial purposes by the end of 2017.

"I would like to praise Chinese government’s move. It is a great step towards protecting elephants. With the ban decision, automatically, ivory price would decrease and make the business less preferred," Maghembe said.

"The business attracted many people because they were paid handsome amount to find trophies, a situation that increases killing and poaching of elephants," the Minister told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

The minister also reiterated Tanzania’s position in protecting elephants, adding other countries should imitate China’s decision.

Tanzania wildlife activists also welcome China’s decision to ban ivory trade, saying that the move is crucial to revive wildlife protection initiatives in Tanzania and Africa at large.

Pastor Clement Matwiga, Director of Rafiki Wildlife Foundation said China has shown beyond doubt that it is a true friend in relation to African problems including giant mammals poaching.

"I would also like to congratulate Tanzania government to be fore-front in fighting elephant poaching; moreover, I would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciations to Chinese government for announcing to ban ivory trade," Matwiga said.

"This shows how determined China is in protecting Africa’s wildlife, they are once again demonstrating to be our true friends," he said.

Shubert Mwarabu, Coordinator of OKOA Tembo wa Tanzania campaign or Rescue Tanzania Elephant, said China’s ban on ivory trade is a huge milestone in protecting Tanzania elephant generations.

"The closure of the market will lead to long-term security for our elephants.

"This is probably the greatest measure that could be taken to reduce elephant poaching," he stressed.

Demand for ivory in Asian countries are often blamed for increasing haunt and killings of elephants in Tanzania.

A government census of 2015 in Tanzania revealed that 60 percent of elephants had been lost over a period of five years.

Tanzania’s elephant population is one of the largest in Africa.

But according to data released by the government in June 2015, between 2009 and 2014, the population had dropped from 109, 051 to 43,521.


Tanzania conservation funds for Wildlife compensation

Tanzania Rangers helping save lives of lost pastoralists

Thousand of cattle die from severe drought in Tanzania


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