THE Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism will engage the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure poachers’ cases receive enough attention.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, told journalists on Wednesday, shortly after a meeting with Heads of National Parks and Game reserves at Matambwe Gate, Selous Game Reserve, which among complaints raised includes files opened against poachers disappearing mysteriously in the hands of police.
Ambassador Kagasheki said he plans to hold discussions with the Minister for Home Affairs, Dr Emmauel Nchimbi, to find out how the two ministries could work together to halt poaching. “I will discuss this matter with Dr Nchimbi, to enable him involve his officers. It is important that, we show seriousness in fighting, and this includes ensuring those arrested are dealt with in accordance with the laws,” he explained.
He added that if those arrested are let to walk free, it will make those working hard to curb poaching, including the heads of National Parks and Game reserves to lose morale. The National Parks and Game Reserve bosses also complained that their efforts to fight poaching are being frustrated by the slow pace at which court cases are handled, with diminutive punishments and penalties given to the culprits.
The issue of low fines and short jail terms also came up, with the Minister noting that the laws will be amended to come up with more severe jail terms and fines. Ambassador Kagasheki said the meeting enabled him to understand challenges that face the heads of National Parks and Game Reserves, for the ministry to find solution so that the civil servants can put more effort in addressing challenges facing the ministry including poaching.
He said without addressing problems facing the personnel, it would be difficult for them to give attention to fully addressing challenges facing the wildlife and tourism sector. Ambassador Kagasheki said poaching was a serious challenge in the country with culprits using sophisticated guns used in wars, including SMG and LMG.
He noted that poachers also carry with them weighing machines, once they extract tusks or other trophies from animals they weigh them in the forests. He noted that they have a large network within the country and outside, that use advanced technology and have lots of money.
“These are the first rangers and it is important to discuss with them problem they are facing and together find solution,” adding that all the challenges raised will be taken up and worked on by the ministry. He said when moral of such people, that the ministry depend upon to address challenges facing the ministry, is down, they will not perform well.
Earlier, the Acting Director of Wildlife, Mr Paul Sarakikya, said the government is involving the public in conservation activities through Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). So far there are 38 WMA which are operating well, according to Mr Sarakikya and among those 17 started this year.
The Acting Director also noted that there is a shortage of park and game rangers, noting that currently 1 ranger protects animals in an area of 160 square kilometres instead of the international required of 1 ranger to protect animals in an area of 25 square kilometres.