Good news up to a point, but a fraction of the elephants they had in Selous 15 years ago – about 70,000.KS
DAR ES SALAAM, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — Tanzania’s Selous-Mikumi ecosystem has 15,501 elephants, according to the latest aerial wildlife census released on Tuesday.
The aerial wildlife census was led by the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) in collaboration with the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) and the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) between October and November 2018.
The overall coverage of the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem aerial wildlife census was approximately 110,000 square kilometers.
“From the census results that we have released today, it is evident that the government efforts to curb poaching is working,” Hamisi Kigwangalla, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism when announcing the results of the census in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
“Now we must remain vigilant, consolidate the efforts so that the elephant population can recover,” he said.
Simon Mduma, TAWIRI Director-General, said it was encouraging that there has been no further decline in the elephant population of the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem since the 2014 census.
“The stabilizing of the elephant population numbers combined with very few incidences of fresh elephant carcasses indicates that poaching has been brought under control,” said Mduma.
James Wakibara, TAWA Conservation Commissioner, said since the establishment of TAWA in 2016, the conservation authority has dedicated its efforts in the Selous Game Reserve to reduce poaching and address the challenges related to resource management.
“These census results will support TANAPA’s efforts as they move forward with taking a greater role in protection of the ecosystem,” said Allan Kijazi, TANAPA Conservation Commissioner.
Regine Hess, the German Ambassador to Tanzania, said: “The census is an outcome of the good cooperation between Tanzania and Germany that have jointly made it possible to carry out this important work.”
The German envoy said having good data was a crucial basis for decision making.
Hess acknowledged the commitment of the Tanzanian government to strengthen environmental protection countrywide, including the upgrading of the protection status of a large part of the Selous to the Nyerere National Park.
Germany’s Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) supported the Selous-Mikumi 2018 wildlife census with financial support through the Selous Ecosystem Conservation Development Program.
The program is funded through KfW Group, a German state-owned development bank, on behalf of the German government and is implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism through TAWA in cooperation with FZS.