Poachers are a menace, eliminate them now

Poachers are a menace, eliminate them now

An MP told the House that 800 tuskers are decimated each month. Going by this figure, the total number of elephants killed each year rounds off at 10,000. Now, who is to blame for literally allowing notorious criminals to commit such mayhem?

In fact, poachers have over the years been roaming in our national parks almost at will, killing game and stealing government trophies. Fortunately, anti-poaching efforts by the state organs responsible have resulted into the impounding of trophies worth 212.9m/- in Liwale District.

The seizure was made by a Special Joint Task Force formed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. The operation seized 80 firearms, 685 rounds of ammunition and 298 shell castings. The team attributed the success to support from members of the public. A total of 101 suspects were apprehended and arraigned in courts of law.

Poachers can only be controlled through better coordination, incisive use of better equipment and other stringent measures. Such measures include enlisting the services of Tanzania Wildlife Service (TWS), whose establishment is envisaged.

TWS is expected to become effective early next financial year. The government has already set aside 500m/- for ground work towards the launching of the unit. This will be another leap in the right direction. The outfit will be an autonomous state-owned establishment whose detail will be to protect and coordinate sustainable use of the wildlife resources.

TWS will help address a number of challenges including acquisition of working tools like inspection helicopters, communication facilities and other requisite equipment. There will also be a deployment of a crack squad of better-trained game wardens.

The government is also in the process of reviewing the 2005 Wildlife Conservation Act, a move that will include introduction of provisions that will call for stiffer penalties, longer prison terms and higher fines for anyone involved in poaching. Some academicians propose vigorous enforcement of wildlife protection laws in addition to fulfillment of a global agreement on the penalties that should be imposed on poachers and traders in illegal ivory and other government trophies.

Author: EDITOR

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