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Tanzania joint projects are helping to bring back whale sharks | Coastweek

GEORGIA United States -- One of two resident male whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium in the United States. WIKIPEDIA PHOTO - ZAC WOLF

Tanzania joint projects are helping to bring back whale sharks

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A joint conservation project has seen the return of whale sharks on the Mafia Island, located in southern circuit of Tanzania and the Zanzibar archipelago, authorities said on Friday.

Amani Ngusaru, the WWF Tanzania Country Director, said the return of the whale sharks will make Mafia Island a leading tourist destination in the world.

The project to recover the whales has been made possible by joint efforts by the World Wildlife Fund, in collaboration with the Mafia District Council in Coast region, Sea Sense, an organization on conserving threatened marine species, the Whale Shark Conservation Society (WCS) and the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI).

Ngusaru said the 3-million-euro five-year whale shark conservation project has witnessed the return of the whale sharks population estimated at between 100 and 140 individuals, mostly juvenile males.

"We need to ensure that these types of fish continue to be in the area after they vanished for a long period of time for poor conservation," he said.

He said the whale sharks on Mafia Island disappeared from the 1960s only to return back in the early 2000s thanks to good conservation methods.

Ngusaru said the whale sharks were a big tourist attraction and could draw hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, which could in turn provide income to villagers on Mafia Island and the country at large.

WWF Tanzania’s Marine Program Coordinator Mathias Igulu said until recently, whale sharks were not commonly found on Mafia Island and conservation efforts have revealed it was possible to restore the environment to its previous state through collaborated efforts.

"The environment has proven to be conducive for the whale sharks to co-exist with other fisheries and marine resources in the area," he said.


Tanzanian officials say drought may drive cattle to neighboring countries

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian livestock officers warned on Friday that prolonged drought in northern Tanzania could drive cattle to neighboring countries in pursuit of grazing land.

They made the remarks at a climate change training session organized by Oikos East Africa, a Tanzanian NGO that promotes the protection of biodiversity, and the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology.

Recently, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda were engaged in the seizure and confiscation of tens of hundreds of cattle from each of the three neighboring countries.

The officers said blame game among East African countries on the recent seizure and auctioning of cattle will not come to an end if the governments failed to reduce the effects caused by climate change.

"The population growth in Tanzania and increase in livestock pressure will further worsen the problem of grazing land," said Esther Meiludie, a livestock officer with the Arusha district council.

Meiludie added: "Much as we continue to experience long dry spells in northern Tanzania, cattle, goats and cows will continue crossing our borders and definitely end up being auctioned by our neighbors."

She said the Arusha district authorities were now grappling with prolonged dry spells even with drought resistance crops given to them by Oikos East Africa.

Joe Hiza, a livestock officer from Meru district council, called on pastoral communities to control the number of their cattle to avoid being seized and auctioned after crossing borders in search of pasture.

He urged the government to get back to stepping up efforts in raising awareness among pastoral communities on the need of controlling livestock population to mitigate the effects of climate change.

ECO-BOMA Project Manager Giorgio Colombo said climate change was a challenging issue that required knowledge enhancement to adapt to necessary measures.

Ramadhani Kupaza, Director of Oikos East Africa, said climate change was no longer a myth and that every Tanzanian had a role to play in addressing the problem.

Tanzania strengthens anti-drugs body

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania on Friday amended a legislation to empower the Drugs Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) in controlling drug trafficking.

The amended Drug Control and Enforcement Act will allow the DCEA to own weapons and use armed officers when arresting drug barons.

Jenista Mhagama, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, told the National Assembly that the amended law will also give DCEA powers to seize bank accounts of suspected drug barons for a specific period.

"There will be no bail to drug barons," said Mhagama.

She told the House that DCEA will now be able to regulate importation and illegal possession of restricted chemicals that can be used in the production of heroin, cocaine and improvised explosive devices.

The amended law also provides for conviction of heads of institutions and public offices or any individuals failing to provide relevant information to the DCEA, said Mhagama.

Mhagama said the government has been spending a lot of money in treating drug addicts by enrolling them to clinics for methadone programs.

She said the government spent 180,000 U.S. dollars for methadone programs in 2016 and 450,000 dollars in 2017.

The ineffective Drugs and Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Drugs Act was repealed in 2015 to form the Drug Control and Enforcement Act.The new act replaced the previous drugs commission with DCEA.

Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark arrives in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark arrived on Sunday morning in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam, starting an eight-day humanitarian mission of providing free medical services to local residents.

The arrival of the Peace Ark, its second in seven years, was received with joy by Tanzanians.

At the welcome ceremony held at Dar es Salaam port, Task Group Commander of Peace Ark Guan Bailin said the visiting crew will carry out free medical services, humanitarian assistance, and conduct medical training to consolidate and promote friendly relations and deepen professional exchanges between China and Tanzania.

Tanzania Navy Commander Richard Mutayoba Makanzo thanked China for sending the Peace Ark to Tanzania again.

"China has helped Tanzania in different sectors. One of the notable areas is the construction of Tazara railway, which connects Tanzania and Zambia," said Makanzo.

In 2010-2015, the Peace Ark paid visits to Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania. A total of 29 countries and regions, and 120,000 people received free on-board medical and humanitarian services.

The current tour has already taken the Peace Ark to Djibouti, Gabon, Sierra Leone, the Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Mozambique.

The Peace Ark is 178 meters long, with a total area of 4,000 square meters.

It has eight operation rooms, seven health care offices and 300 beds.

A total of 115 health care workers are on board, mostly from the Naval Medical University, of which 60 percent have senior titles.


East African Whale Shark Trust, Galu Kinondo Beach Ukunda Kenya


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