Friday, September 27, 2013

JK: I will command TPDF to help in the fight over poaching

FOLLOWING the increased rate of illegal poaching on elephants and Rhinoceros in most national parks in the country, the Commander In-Chief of the armed forces, President Jakaya Kikwete has announced that, he will command the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces (TPDF) to help fight the vice. A Statement issued by the Directorate of the Communications at State House yesterday in Dar es Salaam said that, President Kikwete announced the government’s intention after having noticed that, there is a rampant killing of these two animal species alongside with the wanton felling of trees for business use which has reached to an alarming rate. The President made the announcement at UN headquarter in New York City on Thursday this week when he met with other fellow world leaders in a meeting convened to discuss illegal business related with animals and wood planks across the world. President Kikwete noted that, tourism sector in the country is threatened with indiscriminate killings of such valuable animal species for the need of their tusks whose lucrative business has expanded across the globe. He has decided to take further step to curb the increased phenomenon bearing the fact that, the tourism sector contributes 17 percent of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has so far recruited over 300,000 people in the country. According to the statement, President Kikwete told the meeting which had been organized by Gabon President Ali Omar Bongo in collaboration with the German government, that in 1960 Tanzania had about 350,000 elephants and that the number has reduced to 110,000 up to 2009. He further told his fellow leaders that, for the Rhinoceros species, the President noted that in 1974 the records shows that, there were about 700 species of such animals, and added that it’s amazing to see that in Tanzania their numbers has reduced to 100 mostly due to illegal poaching activities. However, the Kikwete said that, in early 1980s and late 1990s the government was forced to apply extra force by deploying its army soldiers in areas that were seen to become so rampant in order to minimize the situation that proved successful with good results. 

Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete at United Nations General Assembly meeting of head of states.

But in the last four years, the government has witnessed the increased acts of poaching growing at a higher rate with much faster enthusiasm and eagerness an aspect that has caused dishonesty among the stakeholders. For example between 2010 and July 2013 more than 1,386 elephants were killed in Tanzania for illegal business. He further noted that, “my government has taken serious steps to curb with illegal poaching in line with the national policy that ordains the regulations and rules set for the sake of fighting poaching activities in the country”. Either he said that, “Tanzania government has signed various international contracts to help fight the phenomenon at all cost in the country” the President said and added. He also noted that, the government has taken steps to arrest poachers and impound their weapons which they use while carrying out poaching activities. The President noted that between 2010 and mid 2013 a total of 5,189 illegal poachers have been arrested and taken to court, either he further noted that, a total of 1,952 weapons have been impounded. Moreover, he said that, a total of 3,788 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 10,756 kilograms have been impounded in the country. In light of eradicating the phenomenon, the President noted that, he has commanded the TPDF soldiers to help in the fight and that his government is optimistic enough to get encouraging results. However, the President noted that still there are many challenges faced by the law enforcers during the exercises, this is together with the shortage of staff, about 4,800 people are needed to beef up the security. For this year alone,  the President added that the government has recruited only 500 people, the number which the President said are not enough. “As my government is faced with such challenges, the government is also faced with financial resources. The current budget of $ 6.9 million set for the ministry department of wildlife alone is not enough to run the operational costs. In view of this, we need $19.4 for the sake of conducting such an operation and another additional $ 30 million for the sake of buying construction equipment for workers houses

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