Tanzania tour operators contribute $211,000 to save wildlife

De-snaring program bears fruit in Serengeti

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Tanzania tour operators have so far poured more than $211,000 into a Serengeti de-snaring program meant to combat a new form of poaching.

In 2017, a handful of tour operators, the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and Serengeti National Park (SENAPA) joined forces to fight against this silent and deadly form of poaching in the Serengeti.

The De-snaring Program, the first of its kind, has the objective of removing the widespread snares set by local bush meat mongers to catch massive wildlife within the Serengeti National Park and beyond.

Today, 16 months down the lane, the Public-Private Partnership has proved to be an apt model to save the wildlife population in the Serengeti, the Tanzania’s flagship national park.

FZS Project Manager, Mr. Erik Winberg, says that the program with a $211,000 package from tour operators has successfully managed to collect 17,536 snares, 157 animals released alive, 125 poacher camps discovered, and 32 poachers arrested.

He was updating tourism stakeholders during the Mwalimu Nyerere day commemoration organized by the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) under the main theme, “Commemoration of Mwalimu’s unrivaled contribution on conservation,” and sub-theme, “Public-Private-Partnership model in conservation initiatives: The case of De-snaring Program in Serengeti National Park.”

“The PPPs often seen as [an] appropriate form for financing big infrastructure projects are also suitable in wildlife conservation projects, [as] the Serengeti de-snaring program can prove,” Mr. Winberg said.

TATO Councilor and the Serengeti de-snaring program’s volunteer coordinator, Ms. Vesna Glamocanin Tibaijuka, says tourism stakeholders have put more than $211,000 to where their mouths are in the last 16 months.

Subsistence poaching in the Serengeti became large-scale and commercial, putting Tanzania’s flagship national park under renewed pressure after a lull of two years.

Wildlife in the Serengeti, a World Heritage site, had started to recover from a decade-long ivory poaching spree, which almost brought the elephant and rhino populations to their knees.

As if that is not enough, the probably forgotten and silent but deadly bush meat poaching within the Serengeti Park is now putting the world’s greatest annual wildlife migration across East Africa’s plains under a new threat.

The planet’s largest wildlife migration — the annual loop of 2 million wildebeest and other mammals across Tanzania’s legendary national park of Serengeti and Kenya’s renowned Maasai Mara Reserve — is a key tourist lure, generating multi-million dollars annually.

The Serengeti National Park Chief Warden, Mr. William Mwakilema, confirmed that a yet neglected subsistence poaching is becoming a real threat, as local people have adopted wire snares to catch massive animals indiscriminately, thanks to human population growth.

One of TANAPA’s directors, Martin Loibok, commended the partnership, saying such kinds of cooperation was needed for the conservation drive to be sustainable.

“I would like to praise TANAPA for living the legacy of Mwalimu Nyerere on [its] conservation drive. TATO members have always been grateful the job well done in our national parks and even more importantly for the recent addition of new parks,” TATO CEO, Mr. Sirili Akko, explained.