DAR ES SALAAM
Tanzania (Xinhua) -- WWF on Monday
welcomed a move by the Tanzanian government to stop mining in
the Selous Game Reserve, home to elephants, lions, hippos and
African wild dogs.
A statement issued by WWF in the
commercial capital Dar es Salaam said the Tanzanian government
stated its position to stop mining activities in the game
reserve through the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA).
WWF made the statement in response to a report released on
Friday by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),
the global authority on the status of the natural world and the
measures needed to safeguard it.
The IUCN’s report recognized the progress the government of
Tanzania and its partners, including WWF, were making towards
solving the critical poaching problem facing the Selous.
As of January, the WWF said, there were 48 prospective mining
concessions overlapping the Selous, adding that these will now
not be opened for exploration and no future ones will be
The statement said the WWF appreciated the joint work with
the government and partners to deliver strong anti-poaching
progress that has reduced the poaching of elephants and other
wildlife in the reserve.
"WWF will continue these efforts taking a zero poaching
approach to help recover the Selous’ elephant and black rhino
populations," said the statement.
"Safeguarding Selous will not only protect its globally
important wildlife but also the local communities that depend on
the reserve for their livelihoods," said the statement.
"The end of the threat of mining is great progress towards
saving Selous World Heritage site," said Amani Ngusaru, WWF
Tanzania Country Director.
He added that mining concessions overlapped over six percent
of the reserve and would have severely impacted on its ecology.
However, Ngusaru said the reserve continued to face a number
of major threats, including a large proposed hydropower scheme
at the heart of the Selous, oil and gas exploration, and the
threat of pollution from a uranium mine on its border.
Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest wilderness areas in
Afric,a covering an area of 50,000 square kilometers.
It was once home to 110,000 elephants but industrial scale
poaching resulted in a loss of almost 90 percent of the
population in the last 40 years.
In 1982 Selous was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
However it was inscribed onto the World Heritage in Danger
List in 2014 due to rampant poaching and industrial activities,
such as mining, oil and gas development and a hydropower dam
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