eleph4The GOVERNMENT of Tanzania announced a 50% reduction of the jumbo hunting quota for elephants in a bid to facilitate population growth of the jumbos. The 50% reduction o the hunting quota is effective July this year.

It has become necessary to take some control measures on professional hunting due to the widespread poaching of wildlife in the region which the government is trying to fight and contain.

During round-table discussion in Dar es Salaam with the American Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Mark Childress and other high ranking delegates and invited guests, Minister of Natural resources and tourism Lazaro Nyalandu said that they were determined to fight and win the battle against poaching. He was explicit on the difference between trophy hunting and poaching insisting that the 50 per cent reduction is meant to allow an increase in number of the elephants.

The minister did not specify for how long the quota hunting reduction would persist before being allowed in full swing.

The minister revealed a few of the facts that have been found in the anti poaching campaign to the delegates of the meeting. He revealed that it has been discovered that the poachers are divided into 5 different groups but these operate as one. The first group is equipped with mobile phones that cannot easily be tracked and dress in Masai attire. They move around scouting in the bush locating elephants, and communicate to sharp shooters who then stealthily arrive on the scene. The third group comprises of de-horning experts who after hacking the tusks off the dead elephants, inform the transporters who deliver the merchandise to exporters who are in communication with buyers in distant markets. . Information like this shows that Tanzania is making some headway in their investigations into poaching activities across the country.

The minister thanked the United States of America for being very supportive by sharing information, strategies and experiences to help the country and the east African region bring poaching to an end.

Ambassador Childress reassured Tanzania of the USA’s continued support to conserve the wildlife. Tanzania recently received a Robinson R44 helicopter from America to facilitate surveillance in the game reserves and national parks.

Statistics indicate that poaching reached the alarming level such that the elephant population in the famous Selous Game Reserve, the largest in the world and Ruaha National Park dropped from 74,416 in 2009 to 33,084 in 2013 as a result of poaching activities.

More than 20,000 elephants have been killed over the last decade and 80 per cent of the animal killing happened in East Africa.

Elephants which are one of the “big five” are a major tourist attraction in Tanzania and poaching of this specie is affecting tourism in Tanzania. Tanzania safaris are mostly about wildlife and game viewing, if poaching continues, demand for Africa safaris is bound to reduce.