Tour Operators & Conservator Urge Elephant Hunting Ban Tanzania
An intelligent response to the irrational outcry and blaming hunters.
Perhaps the conservator should get some anti poaching patrols operating in the park under his charge instead of calling for bans of hunting.
Arusha TANZANIA has no plans to ban elephant hunting despite outcry from conservators and tour operators who feel the Jumbos are becoming endangered species.
The Acting Wildlife Officer, Mr Paul Sarakikya said here that the wildlife department would not scrap the elephants' hunting permits, saying official hunting when conducted in accordance with regulations would have no effect on the country's Elephant population.
"At the moment Tanzania has more than 110,000 elephants the second largest number of Jumbos in Africa after Botswana and the country's environment is conducive for the elephants' breeding which gives the country a potential to breed up to 150,000 such large mammals," said Mr Sarakikya.
Tour Operators and Conservators here have been advising that the government should ban elephant hunting in the wake of current waves of poaching, targeting the Jumbos' ivories, explaining that since the large mammals are being killed from both legal and illegal hunters, their existence was being threatened.
Mr Erasto Lufungulo is the former Conservator with Tarangire National Park where most of the poaching has been taking place. Earlier, he called for the review of Jumbo hunting permits, saying that unless something was done, elephants were becoming an endangered species. Mr Lufungulo, now conservator of Kilimanjaro National Park, suggested that elephants should be treated as National Species of high priority just like the giraffes and that they should be removed from the list of animals that can be hunted.
It is reported that nearly 29 Jumbos are killed every month in the country with poachers resorting to use deadly poisons to decimate the elephants and recently four such culprits were nabbed in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) recently also reported early that nearly 50 per cent of illegal ivory traded globally originated from Tanzania.
But Mr Sarakikya pointed out that hunting and poaching were two different things and if illegal killings of elephants would be controlled there was no danger of elephants becoming extinct from permitted hunting.Tarangire National Park is Tanzania's leading elephant breeding area with the elephants' growth in the eco-system reported to be 175 mammals per year, which could be the fastest in Africa but its population in Tarangire is still low.
"The Tarangire eco-system also encompasses the Lake Manyara National Park which measures 20,000 square kilometres, which means, the Jumbos' density is very low by comparison," explained Dr Foley, the Assistant Director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) programme in Tanzania.
There are about 3200 elephants in the Tarangire ecosystem at the moment, taking into account the Seven per cent annual increase topped onto the 2500 jumbo population counted during the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) census of 2009.Tanzania with a count of 110,000 elephants is second after Botswana (123,000), for having the largest population in Africa with a potential to breed even more.
According to Dr Foley, Selou Game Reserve with 45,000 elephants has the highest concentration of the large mammals in the country, followed by Ruaha National park with 35,000 jumbos.
Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
BY MARC NKWAME, 15 SEPTEMBER 2012