The Deputy Commissioner for Tourism and Business Services for the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA), Imani Nkuwi explained here that US importation of wildlife related trophies from Tanzania was stopped since the US was critical of how the country was handling the protection of wildlife, natural resources and preservation of the environment.
“But now it seems the United States has restored its trust for Tanzania, as far as protection of natural resources is concerned and is once more permitting trophies from here to be shipped to America,” stated Nkuwi, noting that one firm had started exporting trophies to the US.
Conservation measures launched by the fifth phase government are being felt and acknowledged globally,, enabling Tanzania to be taken out of the blacklist which ncluded other Southern African countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
“Tanzania has reserved over 35 percent of the country’s total area, comprising nearly one million square kilometres, for protection of natural resources and wildlife. Last year we added five new national parks thus increasing the number to 21,” he pointed out.
Hillary Daffi, a hunting safaris investor and director of Marera Company and Bullet Safaris said the US decision to permit wildlife products from Tanzania was a windfall since the US market accounts for more than 60 percent of all hunting products that Africa countries sell outside.
However, the TAWA official reminded stakeholders that the US was still treading carefully and will be scrutinizing such transactions closely.
Regarding ongoing conservation efforts, a number of international observers affirm that Tanzania has more than enough space to accommodate most wildlife found within its borders and works to increase the reach of conservation eco-systems even further.
Tanzania has set aside over 265,000 square kilometres for wildlife conservation, equivalent to 27 percent of the total country area while Kenya has just 44,600 square kilometres that accounts for 7.5 percent of the country’s land surface.
Dr James Wakibara, the TAWA director general said here recently that TAWA runs 28 Game Reserves and 46 Game Controlled Areas and so far covers over 200,000 square kilometres.
And that is discounting the 16 national parks manned by the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) as well as the Ngorongoro Crater zone managed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA).
The 16 national parks straddling the country together comprise an area of nearly 57,000 square kilometres, with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area measuring 8,292 square kilometres.
In addition to national parks, game reserves, game controlled and conservation areas, Tanzania is establishing community based Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) where villages pool land to create areas in which wildlife can thrive so that local residents benefit from tourism.
Currently there are 38 WMAs countrywide at different stages of development, with 17 WMAs attaining authorized association (AAs) status. These will further add more land for wildlife in Tanzania.
Tanzania has also gazetted nearly 20 million hectares as forest reserves and 4.1 million hectares are managed under participatory forest management.