Sunday 30 August 2015

Tanzania's Elephant population summary

In general, the national census which was a follow up to the 2009 nationwide census revealed a decrease of 65,721 elephants from 109, 051 to only 43,330 elephants, an equivalent of a 60.3 per cent drop in a span of five years.

Areas which recorded a decrease in the elephant numbers include the Malagarasi-Moyozi ecosystem which recorded an 81 per cent decrease well from 15,198 in 2009 to 2,953.

In the Kilimanjaro ecosystem the number fell from 450 to 100, a decrease of 77.8 per cent.

The census recorded a considerable increase in the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem from 13,000 herds in 2013 to 15,217, an increase of 2000.  The increase is linked to improved management as well as the support received from conservation partners. Bear in mind that there were around 70000 elephants in Selous alone in 2006. They have been severely massacred.

The Serengeti which is the World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve of mankind saw an impressive 98 per cent increase from 3,068 in 2009 to 6,087 in 2014.

In the Tarangire ecosystem, a 64 per cent increase was recorded from 2,561 in 2009 to 4,202 in 2014. Tarangire, according to the data, has the highest elephant population density in the world.

The census recorded a 108 per cent increase in Rubondo from 49 in 2009 to 102 in 2014, while the population in Katavi-Rukwa remained stable with 6,396 in the same period.

Ruaha-Rungwa is in dispute. Census showed a decrease from 20,000 to 8200 from 2013 to 2014. The Government believes these numbers are wrong and is organising a new search starting in November to try and find the missing elephants

I hope I am wrong but I suspect what is left of them will be found in Ivory shops in Hong Kong and China.

Friday 28 August 2015

African Parks to help running Tanzania's Wildlife Reserves

The Government of Tanzania has shared the disastrous results of the Great Elephant Census in their country, and they have promised action. Leaders acknowledged the losses, and have pledged to reinforce their commitment to protecting elephant populations where they need it most. The Great Elephant Census sincerely applauds Tanzania’s recognition of the gravity of this situation and for applying the preliminary data to inform conservation strategies in elephant ecosystems across the country. The Government of Tanzania has already announced the following measures;
  •  Tanzania is bringing in the African Parks Network to run the Burigi and Biharamulo wildlife reserves and is working to conclude negotiations on that agreement.
  • The northern sector of the Selous Game Reserve, where Vuclan is working with the Frankfurt Zoological Society to combat poaching on the ground, will be devoted exclusively to photographic tourism, the government will let the existing hunting concessions in that area lapse, and will bring in TANAPA, which runs the Tanzanian National Parks, to help run the area.
  • Increase the number of rangers deployed to the Rungwa Game Reserve.
  • Increase the resources and personnel deployed to Tarangire to prevent what happened in the Selous and Rungwa from happening there.

    It sounds good but will it actually get off the ground? Will the Tanzanian staff get the resources they need to effectively combat the poachers of is it just more gum bumping by politicians to try and save their sorry arses?

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Tanzania government is to break up the Game Department and move responsibility to the Tanzania Wildlife Authority

The government of Tanzania is to break up the Game Department as one way towards helping to revive the country's elephant numbers, depleted due to rampant poaching.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism thinks it can increase the number of elephants to 100,000 over the next five years.

Lazaro Nyalandu, Minister of tourism and Natural Resources, said the government had decided to dismantle the Game Department which was previously under his Ministry and transfer personnel to the Tanzania Wildlife Authority, which is now being restructured into a completely new agency.

The new agency will be responsible for over 120,000 square kilometres (46,332 square miles) of land.

He also said the number of poachers that are being apprehended is dropping drastically.
"The drop comes from the government effort to increase the number on man-patrol since February last year," he said.

But he would be able to say that  - if there are no eles left then the poachers will move on.

The Minister called for more help from the international community in terms of funding and technical support.

A 2014 survey indicated that the elephant population in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem, in Tanzania's undeveloped south, crashed from 20,000 in the previous year to 8,272. So to protect the remaining elephants in Ruaha-Rungwa, the government is already doubling the number of game rangers to 140. Furthermore it is committed to provide transportation, weaponry and uniforms for them to work
efficiently. By the end of 2014, they had hired another 1000 rangers to be deployed throughout the country.

Tanzania and Mozambique have signed a bilateral agreement to protect the Selous-Niassa Corridor, which will become the world's largest protected area.

Not that Mozambique is providing any protection worth a damn to the Niassa reserve. Mozambique has lost 50% of its elephants in just five years, mostly in this area. Government, the police and the judiciary all complicit in the killing.

He has also signed a new agreement with his Zambian counterpart to protect the Miombo woodland.This woodland is about 2.5 million square kilometers of land criss crossing Tanzania and Zambia, a crucial habit for the elephants to multiply in.

I hope this is more than just a PR excerise.

Friday 7 August 2015

China donates $2 million worth of conservation hardware to Zimbabwe

China yesterday donated $2,3 million worth of equipment to be used to curb the illegal hunting
and poaching of game in this country. An additional $100 000 was added to help set up a Zim-
China foundation for the protection of wildlife.

The equipment donated by China includes lorries, SUVs, pick-up trucks, mobile radios, telescopes and tents.

Zimparks director Mr Edson Chidziya said an additional $20 million was required for all the
operational support to reduce poaching and other problems.

"We do have the operational costs which are affecting us and we need an additional $20 million
for refurbishment and rehabilitation for our parks which include roads, infrastructure in the
parks and game park fences."

Good start for China. But rather than run a PR exercise why doesn't China do something big and
STOP the legal trade in Ivory forthwith.

Thursday 6 August 2015

UK gives £5 million to help fight against wildlife crime

Up to £5 million of UK Government funding will made available to initiatives around the world
to help tackle the cruel trade in rhino horn, elephant ivory and other illegal wildlife
products, Defra Minister Rory Stewart has announced .

Poaching is rife in parts of Africa, with 1,293 rhinos killed last year and over 20,000
elephant deaths attributed to poaching in 2013.

The UK is playing a leading role in global efforts to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, which
involves international criminal networks and undermines the economies of our trading partners
in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Round Two of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund will support practical action against
wildlife crime by strengthening law enforcement, reducing demand for illegal products and by
helping communities develop sustainable conservation schemes.

It's peanuts compared to what we are happy to give to places like Pakistan, or waste on weapons, but every little helps.  However, the World still hasn't fully woken up to this problem. We all want to see wildlife healthy and protected but we don't seem to want to provide the funds to achieve it. A Global fund ought to be set up as its a Global problem and we ALL want to be able to enjoy the World's wildlife.