Friday 24 October 2014

Rapid Response Team trained for anti poaching activities in Ruaha NP Tanzania

The Tanzanian government, working with the SPANEST  (Strengthening the Protected Areas Network in Southern Tanzania) project is training a rapid response team (RRT) that will be deployed to handle incidents of poaching in Ruaha National Park and surrounding area. The RRT, about 38 selected rangers, is currently being trained by international experts on sophisticated combat techniques and handling of communication equipment such as GPS systems and firearms.

SPANEST has been conducting anti-poaching campaigns around the more than 64 villages living around GRL and GKKL areas, trained TANAPA rangers, and did maintenance of roads around the park. One of the chievements recorded so far by  the SPANEST project is a 56 per cent decrease of poaching in Ruaha National Park where a total of 36 elephants were killed in 2013/2014 compared to 82 in 2012/13.

(I suspect these figures are very much on the low side but the trend is what is important).

Also, over 400 kilometres of roadwork in RNP have been maintained using a motor grader provided by SPANEST which has improved accessibility to the park and helped to improve response times to suspected incidents of poaching.

Park Chief Warden, Dr Christopher Timbuka said poaching incidents have gone down by about 60 per cent, attributing the achievements to combined efforts from stakeholders and government's 'Operation Tokomeza.' "'Operation Tokomeza' helped us a lot, we have a mountain of firearms seized following the government's special operation in our stores," he said, explaining that they are still continuing with anti-poaching efforts through the government's National Task Force.

"We are now continuing with the task force on anti-poaching, seizing arms and arresting poachers, and I can say that this year the situation is very good," he added. Although he didn't have statistics readily available, Dr Timbuka said between July and October this year there have been very few incidents of poaching.

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