Tanzania, UNDP for joint taskforce to investigate poaching allegations

03Jan 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Tanzania, UNDP for joint taskforce to investigate poaching allegations

TANZANIA and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) yesterday agreed to establish a joint taskforce to investigate elephant poaching allegations on the Ruaha National Park as aired by a London-based TV station recently.

Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla and

This follows a meeting between Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla and the resident director for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Natalie Boucly yesterday in Dar es Salaam.

The minister told the UNDP director that his ministry is preparing a strategy to increase the number of tourists as well as preparing a special policy to establish electronic ways to collect tax in tourism centres countrywide.

On her behalf the UNDP director told the minister that her organisation is committed to support Tanzania in various sectors including promoting tourism in the country.

The London based station alleged in its programme that half the elephants in one of Africa’s largest national parks - over 4,000 animals - have been killed by poachers in a single year.

It said elephant numbers in Ruaha National Park have dropped from 8,500 in 2014 to just over 4,200 now.

The television station also claimed that the government received the report in January last year but has so far failed to publish it, citing the need for “secondary validation.”

The report said conservationists say embarrassment is a more likely reason - for a country where wildlife tourism accounts for 16per cent of the economy yet in some areas poaching is out of control.

According to the TV the findings were part of the Great Elephant Census, an ambitious two-year project to conduct an aerial survey of elephant num The massacre in Ruaha follows a similar event in the neighbouring Selous Game Reserve, where 67 per cent of the elephant population were killed by poachers in four years. The latest research confirms the decline in elephant numbers there, with an estimated 12,000 now remaining from over 100,000 in the 1970’s.

 “While there is good news in the census about Tanzania’s other major elephant populations, including the Serengeti where numbers are increasing, it is tempered by the fear that with the Selous and Ruaha all but emptied of elephants the poachers will soon move on,” said the TV.