Tanzania: Poaching Steals from Us All

Posted on Jun 18, 2015 in Jamie Joseph
Tanzania: Poaching Steals from Us All
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African Wildlife Foundation and WildAid Launch Anti-Poaching Campaign with Tanzanian Government

Public awareness campaign featuring Tanzanian celebrities will be distributed widely across the nation under the tagline “Poaching Steals from Us All”

DAR ES SALAAM — African Wildlife Foundation and WildAid, in partnership with Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, are launching a new public awareness campaign, one aimed at educating the Tanzanian public about the severe poaching crisis and building widespread support to protect elephants and other species from the illegal wildlife trade.

Tanzania has lost 60 percent of its elephants in the last five years, mainly because of poaching for ivory. Demand in China and other ivory consuming nations is fueling a black market in ivory, which has lead to the decimation of the East African country’s once thriving elephant herds. Only those criminals and corrupt individuals at the very top of the illegal ivory supply chain in Africa and Asia have benefited from this destruction and are reaping huge profits, while everyday Tanzanians are being robbed of their natural heritage.

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“Elephants are at the top of the ‘wish list’ for most tourists who come to this country, and tourism generates over 12 percent of our gross domestic product,” said The Hon. Lazaro Nyalandu, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism. “Our elephants are a great asset to this country in many ways, and my government is determined to stop the slaughter. But we cannot do it alone. We want to enlist the help of all of our citizens in our efforts to stop the theft of our national heritage.”

Dr. Patrick Bergin, CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation, emphasized that poaching is tarnishing Tanzania’s image as one of the great elephant refuges.

“Tanzania has always been known for its large elephant herds and, together with Botswana and Zimbabwe, is home to half of all of Africa’s elephants,” said Bergin. “The current rate of poaching, however, threatens to erode that distinction. As Tanzanians learn more about the crisis through the campaign, we hope they will work with us to protect this tremendous asset.”

In a recent survey of over 2,000 Tanzanians in both rural and urban areas, nearly 80 percent of respondents said that it would matter a great deal to them if elephants disappeared from Tanzania, and over 73 percent said that they associated wildlife with their national identity and heritage.

“All Tanzanians, no matter where they live, are stakeholders in the country’s wildlife resource,” said Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid. “The tagline for this campaign, ‘Ujangili Unatuumiza sote’ (poaching steals from us all), is a reminder that those who are poaching elephants and smuggling their ivory to east Asia are stealing from all Tanzanian citizens.”

The joint campaign will use Swahili-language radio and television, social media, newspapers and magazines, billboards and videos in public spaces in order to reach as many members of the public as possible. “We are making plans to ensure that even people living in remote rural villages will have an opportunity to hear our messages,” said Knights.

Celebrated singer Alikiba has become the first Ambassador for the campaign. “I’m honoured to lend any support that I can to this campaign,” Alikiba said. “Our beautiful elephants must be allowed to live, free and wild, instead of ending up as a carving on somebody’s coffee table.”

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Saving the Wild regularly interviews global thought leaders engaged in Africa’s poaching crisis, and is a platform to empower Global Citizens to be a force for good. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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3 Comments

  1. Jane High
    June 18, 2015

    Oh please could we make this a Zimbabwean campaign as well…GREAT IDEA. We have famous musicians and sportsmen who could open this idea to Zimbabweans.

    • Jamie
      June 18, 2015

      I was born in Zimbabwe and spent much of my childhood in the vast and breathtaking Zimbabwean bush. I too would love to see this sort of thing roll out in Zim. Clearly there are many road blocks, but it’s always worth investigating the possibility. I’ll ask.

  2. Pat Stillman
    June 19, 2015

    Why are African Government’s allowing outsiders to rape their country and destroy their wildlife heritage? This is genocide. Locals who participate in the ivory trade have no vision for their own future. So little gained and so much lost, an entire species meant to thrive for future generations of humans and elephants. Powerful people must be allowing this. Follow the money, put them in jail for life and confiscate their personal property. Demand China shut down carving factories, and all sales and purchase of ivory. Demand this of all countries! If they don’t, then tell everyone they are not welcome in your country. Ivory must become taboo just like shrunken heads were once collected but now understood to be barbaric. Humans must evolve in their intelligence and compassion. CITES must list the Elephant as an endangered species. Stop all trophy hunting, all killing for profit. If the killing stopped, the millions of dollars spent on poaching campaigns could go to help improve the lives of all people and wildlife rather than for preventing the horrific poverty and complete loss of African wildlife. No to legal ivory; there is no reason for anyone to want ivory other than to make a profit in the name of greed. If anyone thinks carved elephant tusks is Art they have it all wrong; it is not art, art must represent beauty not death and destruction, not the blood of dead rangers and elephants.

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