Tanzania steps up fight against poachers

Local community helps protect Arusha against poachers

Tanzania has launched a new community-based programme to increase its measures against illegal poachers.

The plan by Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) involves anti-poaching powers being given to local communities who will work in tandem with park rangers. Villagers are currently being trained at Arusha National Park (ANAPA) before the programme is eventually introduced across the country’s 16 national parks. The five villages in the first phase of the programme are all based in the Arumeru district about 45 km north of Arusha, and comprise Ngongongale, King’ori, Ngurudoto, Kisimiri Chini and Kilinga.

Local community members will receive extensive training in security skills, knowing the parks' official boundaries, kowning how to identify suspected poachers, and ways of apprehending them.

Tanzania and Kenya have revealed that elephants numbers have been increasing recently along the 500-km borderline dividing the two counties. The success is attributed to the involvement of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) which has joined wildlife patrols in the area over the last five years. Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), which counted a total of 1,200 elpehants in the region in 2010, said there has been an increase of 700 elephants since then, bringing the current number to over 1,900.