Thursday 6 November 2014

Tanzania Praised for Anti Poaching efforts in Selous

THE international community has complimented Tanzania for her anti-poaching drive after going for four months without a single reported killing of an elephant in the Selous Game Reserve, the largest in Africa.

The Selous was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to the diversity of its wildlife and undisturbed nature.

The reserve covers a total area of 54,600 sq km (21,100 sq miles) and has additional buffer zones.
Speaking recently during a joint Selous expedition, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, expressed satisfaction with the ongoing coordinated efforts in combating wildlife poaching and trade.He noted that application of sophisticated preventive measures in addition to commitment among game rangers has helped to improve the situation dramatically. "Control over poaching is a commendable achievement. Purchase of a surveillance helicopter and hire of game rangers made a big difference," Mr Nyalandu said.

Results from a wildlife census conducted in October and November, 2013, show a dramatic decline in elephants in the area to just 13084. Wildlife surveys taken in the Selous in 1976 indicated that some 109,419 elephants inhabited the area.

The reserve has suffered such a heavy elephant poaching for ivory, that in the last four years alone, the Selous has lost 67 per cent of its elephants. It's one of Tanzania's, if not Africa's, most brutal killing fields.

Recently, the government officially established the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA), an independent organ which will not only help increase revenues through Tanzania's national parks, forests and game reserves but also improve significantly wildlife conservation techniques.

It was announced that in the 2014/15 financial year an additional 500 game rangers would be hired to bring to 930 the number of rangers on the ground. These will be deployed to cover the designated wildlife habitat of 112,000 square kilometres.

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