Tanzania president - poaching threatens elephant

2014-02-14 06:00
Faced with increased activity by poachers and traffickers, who are decimating the African elephant population to the point of potentially causing its extinction in the long run, the destruction of seized ivory by security officials have increased. (T

Faced with increased activity by poachers and traffickers, who are decimating the African elephant population to the point of potentially causing its extinction in the long run, the destruction of seized ivory by security officials have increased. (T

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dar es Salaam - Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said his country's elephant herds faced extinction following a wildlife poaching boom in east Africa's second-largest economy.

Kikwete said a new census at the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem, one of the country's biggest wildlife sanctuaries, revealed the elephant population had plummeted to just 13 084 from 38 975 in 2009, representing a 66% decline.

The president announced plans to call for a global ban in the trade of ivory and rhino horn, as a new wave of poaching is threatening its elephant and rhino populations.

"There is every sign that this animal [elephant] will become extinct in the near future if deliberate efforts are not taken to protect these herds," Kikwete said in a speech released by his office on Thursday.

"If this [ivory and rhino horn] trade is ended, not a single elephant will be killed. There won't be any incentive for poaching."

He said elephant slaughter in Tanzania declined sharply after 1987 when the government launched a major anti-poaching operation, which led to an increase in herds from 55 000 in 1989 to 110 000 in 2009.

But the poaching has revived in recent years, driven by fast-rising demand for ivory and rhino horn in Asia in tandem with growing Chinese influence and investment in Africa.

Kikwete appealed for assistance from the international community in fighting poachers, saying game rangers were overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the problem, with the area of the country's wildlife sanctuaries "nearly the size of the United Kingdom" at 232 535km². 

More staff

"We need technical assistance, funding and technology to enable us to employ more game rangers and to give us modern technology to tackle poachers," he said.

In a separate statement released late on Wednesday, the Tanzanian president's office said the country had confiscated close to 20 tons of ivory between 2010 and 2013.

"The government is finalizing the employment of 900 more staff for the wildlife division ... However, the government still needs more equipment to match the existing challenges in wildlife conservation," the president's office said.

President Kikwete in December sacked four government ministers following accusations of abuses committed by security forces during a huge operation against wildlife poaching.

The government said it was now finalising plans to re-launch the anti-poaching operation.

Read more on:    tanzania  |  poaching  |  east africa  |  conservation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.