Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Elephant poaching figures so bad Tanzania calls for recount

The results of a recent aerial survey of elephants in Tanzania released today offers a mixed bag of results but one area stands out from the crowd. While some areas of Tanzania have seen increases in elephant numbers the Ruaha region has lost over 12,000 elephants in just 2 years.

The survey has shown that the current population is just 8,727 compared to 20,000 in 2013. In 2009 the region had over 31,000 elephants. The release of the figures seem to confirm that figures leaked a couple of months ago were reasonably correct.

The drop has been so dramatic that the Tanzanian Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Lazaro Nyalandu has announced a re-survey of the Ruaha-Rungwa area.

He suggested that some of the drop could be down to elephant migrations but that is disputed by those who undertook the survey. The minister though did concede that poaching in the Ruaha-Rungwa area was so bad that it was a ‘slaughterhouse for elephants’.

Nyalandu confirmed that the Rungwa game reserve appears to be the epi-centre of elephant poaching in the country and that the government will take action to deal with the situation.

Action the government will take include hiring additional rangers and allocating more funding towards tackling the poaching gangs of the region. The minister also announced plans that the government will pull together a law enforcement strategy to try and tackle the low numbers of arrests that result in prosecutions.

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