Giraffe killing highlighted in the Manyara lake district
Poachers are turning their attention to giraffes in the Manyara lake region, south-west of Arusha, according to reports in local media.
Tanzania's national symbol, the giraffe, is a protected species but is coming under increasing attack from poachers keen to take advantage of the booming illicit trade in giraffe meat.
The killing of the animals is also fuelled by the mistaken belief that the consumption of giraffe brains and bone marrow is an effective cure for HIV/AIDS.
Giraffe meat is allegedly transported around Tanzania as well as being smuggled to restaurants in neighbouring countries where it can command a high price. The animals' skin and hair is also used to make illegal bracelets, necklaces and fly swatters.
Some local wildlife rangers acknowledge the killing of giraffes in the Manyara area but claim that poachers do not target giraffes specifically – often killing gazelle, antelope and zebra as well.
Environmentalists say that giraffe poaching has become a problem across Africa, as the sedentary animals are easy prey for their attackers, often staring at a poacher before running away. Giraffes can also be killed with one shot and are easily trapped using leg and neck snares.