Tanzania to Host Elephant Conference in May 2014
Thursday, March 20th 2014 the Government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) announced that it will convene a conference in collaboration with the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) of the United States of America and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This conference is part of the government’s anti-poaching initiatives -- it will be attended by national and international stakeholders in conservation of wildlife and is scheduled to take place in the second week of May 2014 in Dar es Salaam.
Poaching for wildlife parts and meat for domestic consumption is an ongoing phenomenon in Africa, much of its small-scale poaching for domestic consumption in poor communities. However, in the past few years, Africa has witnessed an exponential escalation in poaching, spurred by international demand for elephant ivory and rhino horn. This has corresponded in a striking shift in terms of the focus of poaching (elephant tusks and rhino horns, rather than a range of species including game), numbers poached (herds of up to 400 elephants killed in one day), and tools (poachers using helicopters and high-tech surveillance equipment and weaponry).
In Tanzania, the government has taken various measures to combat illegal wildlife trade; these include increasing routine patrols and launching a special anti-poaching initiative titled ‘Operation Tokomeza’.
Tourism accounts for 17% of Tanzania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs over 300,000 people, therefore initiatives to combat illicit wildlife trade --that is increasing at an alarming rate, is absolutely critical.