DAR ES SALAAM
The Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA), a state wildlife management and conservation body, said on Thursday it has seized more than 60 bicycles that were used by poachers inside the Selous Game Reserve.
Augustino Ngimilanga, TAWA's North-West Zonal Chief, said the authority has also seized 100 metal snares used by poachers to catch wild animals in the game reserve. Ngimilanga said the bicycles and the snares were seized in a special operation and routine patrols carried out by TAWA game rangers inside the 50,000-square kilometer reserve, home to elephants and other wild animals.
"We have stepped up efforts of patrolling the area and in the recent past we also deployed patrol boats in the Rufiji River crossing in the Selous Game Reserve for efficiency," he said.
Ngimilanga added that poaching, logging and illegal fishing were the common crimes committed inside the Selous Game Reserve, one of the largest faunal reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania. He said poachers inside the Selous were now using long plastic trumpets, commonly referred to as Vuvuzelas and torches to confuse and ultimately kill wild animals inside the reserve.
"They've designed a new method of killing our animals but we will continue hunting the criminals down," he said.
Ngimilanga said TAWA will continue engaging local and foreign investors in the area in a bid to stamp out poaching. Benson Kibonde, an official with Mkwawa Hunting Safaris, underscored the importance of protecting and conserving the Selous Game Reserve due to its diverse range of species and for being a catchment area for Kilombero and Rufiji Rivers.