By Anne Robi
KILLING of elephants in Ruaha National Park have dropped from 30 in 2014/2015 to two in 2019/2020, the park’s Law Enforcement and Security Strategy Officer, Mr David Mlay has said.
He told a delegation from Journalists Environmental Association (JET) that the number of killings has dropped after the management implemented anti-poaching measures, which include protecting the elephants and other animals in the park.
“In the last five years, Ruaha has experienced a sharp decrease in elephants’ killings, and this is because of the anti-poaching measures that we came up with to ensure that the animals are well protected,” he said.
Among the measures fulfilled includes increase of aerial surveillance, monitoring through patrols, working with communities around the park, training of rangers and wardens and campaigns for elephant’s protection.
He said some 1300 poachers were arrested in the park from 2014 to 2019. Among the arrested poachers were the ones involved in the network of elephant killing.
“In 2019 alone, we arrested 2012 poachers, and some of them were jailed,” he noted.
He said other poachers were arrested for illegal mining, logging, fishing and hunting in the park.
Mr Mlay said the management is planning more measures to ensure zero killing of elephants and other animals in the park.
The move will involve strengthening of the cooperation between community based security committees and the park.
“We plan to increase monitoring through patrols and conducting awareness campaigns among the communities surrounding the park,” he said.
The number of elephants in the country has increased after a successful war against poaching and increasing involvement of communities around the park.
According to the University of Dar es Salaam Lecturer at the Department of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation, Dr Elikana Kalumanga, the feat is down to government’s crackdown on organized criminal networks involved in industrial scale poaching.