A TOTAL of 3,185 poachers in Tanzania have been caught in the act and apprehended. Among them 1,539 have been arraigned in courts of law since July 2016, according to the Permanent Secretary with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Major General Gaudence Milanzi.
In similar vein, a total of 270 guns and 1,058 rounds of ammunition have been seized by the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) during the period under review.
PS Milanzi showered praise on TAWA over the brilliant and impressive records when closing a military course attended by 75 wildlife officials from Ugala and Rungwa game reserves and forces against poaching from Manyoni in Singida Region and Arusha.
The military training course which was conducted by military trainers from the United States Army took off on March 27 and ended on June 5 this year at Rungwa game reserve Headquarters.
The closing event was attended, among others, by representatives from the American Embassy in Tanzania, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Lee who is also the military attaché. Also present was a representative from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Mr Aron Nicholas and Mr Trevor Johnes from STEP.
The PS called upon the graduates to fully put in practice the military skills they had acquired during training by tackling seriously poaching incidents and arraigning suspects. He insisted that the US government through its organizations (WCS and STEP) has donated several pieces of equipment to Rungwa–Muhesi – Kizigo game reserves including four Land Cruisers (motor vehicles), two tractors and fuel for running cars.
“I congratulate TAWA for the impressive records you have so far logged and for tackling poaching. Similarly, I thank the government of the United States of America through its WCS and STEP for its support in combating poaching in the country,” added the PS.
TAWA ‘s General Director, Mr Martin Loibooki, said that the objective of such military training was to build the capacity of wildlife officials who in turn lead their subordinates most of them being soldiers who have not attended military training since they had graduated from Universities” added Mr Loibooki.
Expounding, he said TAWA was established by the government as an instrument to implement government responsibilities on its behalf. Mr Loibooki lauded the government of USA through its WCS for training militarily the ‘Rapid Response Team’ which has already been given patrol vans at game reserves in Rungwa, Rukwa and Piti .
TAWA was established by a government order and gazetted vide number 135 of May 9, 2009. Its establishment was in implementation of Article 8 of the Wildlife Act and storage Number 5 of 2009.