Locking down the ivory trade.
While inspecting the country’s seized ivory stockpile this week, Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Magufuli ordered law enforcement officials to crack down on elephant poaching and trafficking syndicates.
“We are not going to allow our natural resources to be depleted,” Magufuli said, while offering federal security agencies his full support and urging them to “arrest all those involved in this illicit trade.”
One of Africa’s oldest reserves could see its elephant population decimated by 2022 if urgent measures are not taken to stem industrial-scale poaching, according to a new analysis by WWF.
Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania’s largest protected area, was home to one of the greatest concentrations of African elephants on the continent, but rampant ivory poaching has seen the population reduced by 90 per cent in fewer than 40 years. Nearly 110,000 elephants once roamed the savannahs, wetlands and forests of Selous, but now only about 15,000 remain in the ecosystem.
The analysis, produced for WWF by Dalberg Global Development Advisors, shows how the loss of Selous’ elephants would have a negative effect on Tanzania’s nature based economy, putting the livelihoods of 1.2 million people at risk. Travel and tourism in Selous generate US$6 million annually, and the industry represents a combined yearly contribution of US$5 billion to the GDP of Tanzania, which holds world renowned assets such as Mount Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park.