Tanzanian authorities in campaign against bush meat to curb poaching

ARUSHA, Tanzania, Oct. 10 — Authorities in northern Tanzania have
embarked on a campaign against bush meat business aimed at addressing
poaching in the East African nation’s sanctuaries.

Joel Bendera, Manyara Regional Commissioner said on Sunday that the
campaign involved all people, including those living close to game reserves
and national parks. “We want to see Tanzania’s natural resources are
protected at any cost, so we are discouraging people from buying and eating
bush meat because, in the fight against poaching, we came to realize that
the business contributes a lot to the reckless killings of large mammals,”
he said. He added: “This is another approach that will help to address
poaching, which has been threatening the country’s wildlife sector.” Among
other issues involved in the campaign, according to the official, include
awareness creation on dangers accompanied by poaching to the wildlife and
the country’s economy. Poachers pretend to target small animals and birds
like dik-dik, duikers, hare and guinea fowl, but they also kill warthogs,
wildebeest, zebras, buffaloes, hippopotamus and even elephants. “That’s
why we’re discouraging this business,” Bendera said. “We believe that if
people refuse to buy and eat bush meat, poachers would be nowhere to sell;
hence they’ll abandon the business,” he said, calling on local government
authorities to team up in the campaign against bush meat, by unveiling
names of people who are behind the business.

Nicolaus Negri, a wildlife conservator and tour operator who works with
Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA), said the endless campaign intends
to change people’s mindsets on bush meat, which is one of the drivers of
poaching. Burunge WMA is the main link between Lake Manyara and Tarangire
National Park, which of recent faces serious threat from bush meat
business.Conservationists estimate that up to 50 percent of Tanzania’s
total wildlife population has already been decimated for bush meat, which
apart from being consumed locally is also reportedly exported to the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, war-torn Somalia, Burundi, Sudan and
other neighboring countries. – XINHUA