Edward Qorro, Tanzania
December 22, 2021
Free game drives among Barbaig youths is reportedly seeing the community shunning killing of elephants within the Tarangire National Park.
Detailing on anti-poaching and outreach operations within the park, a conservation officer with the park, Mr William Maregesi said here recently that the park was compelled to initiate such a move to discourage poaching of jumbos among the Barbaig communities.
“Towards the end of every year, Barbaig youths would kill elephants as a sign of courage; this encouraged the poaching of jumbos in the park for quite some time,” explained the conservation officer during a journalists’ sensitization workshop for changing community behavior in Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor.
According to Mr Maregesi, elephant poaching had once become rife in the area, with the Barbaig dominating the list, forcing conservators to hatch a plan of introducing the complimentary game drives around the 2,600 square kilometer park.
“This made them appreciate nature and efforts of conserving the park, which is why we’ve not had any cases related to elephant poaching since then,” said the conservator.
Legend has it that, any young man hailing from the Barbaig communities would easily secure any girl for marriages. The Barbaig are a nomadic tribe of the Datooga people based in the northern volcanic highlands near Mount Hanang in Manyara region. It is the largest of the seven or eight sub tribes of the Datooga community.
Presenting poaching status in the area, the conservation officer said a total of 582 poachers had been arrested between July 2016 and November 2021. He added that some 36,651 livestock were impounded for illegal grazing in the national park.
The Media workshop was organized by the Conserving Natural Capital and Enhancing Collaborative Management of Transboundary Resources in East Africa (CONNECT) project, which is implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the wildlife trade specialists (TRAFFIC) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).