Combating Poaching and Illegal Logging in Tanzania: Voices of the Rangers-Hands-on Experiences from the Field


been done to stop or minimize both the killing of wildlife and the trade in commodities, the market is still demanding more, giving organizers of illegal trade and poaching an opportunity to earn big money. Repeated visits in the field between 2013 and 2016 involving extensive conversations with rangers while participating in training and on operations have given the following impressions of the challenges to anti-poaching in Tanzania. These impressions were collected using participating observation, a methodology known from anthropology. In most cases, the personnel carrying out the actual poaching are local residents close to the area where the animals are killed. Often they are extremely poor and see no other way to support themselves and their families. There are many types of poaching, including trophy hunting and meat poaching, whereby village residents enter nearby protected areas to shoot, or trap, wildlife for meat. Illegal logging is another devastating business in Tanzania, and is often closely connected to wildlife poaching. While staying out in the bush, loggers needing food shoot animals for meat or buy bushmeat, and many of them also kill elephants and other protected wildlife if they have the opportunity. The bushmeat poachers are not the ones earning the bigmoney, but the income is far higher than what they would earn from a regular job, if they were even able to find a job at all. They will normally kill any animal if it has something valuable, and most animals do. For instance, the skin of a leopard will sell for a considerable amount of money at the local market, and the buyer will of course re-sell it to customers that are willing to pay a lot more. In order to face the challenges of local residents carrying out poaching, action in terms of alternative livelihoods will have to be taken in order to fight the extreme poverty in rural areas of Tanzania. Another challenge is the strong population growth in Tanzania, at about 3.1 per cent per year, 7 according to the World Bank. This increasing population places pressure on existing infrastructure, which leads to even more poverty, and may force residents into illegal activities.

The reasons why poaching takes place are of course multi- faceted and compound. As in all kinds of business and trade, there has to be both a market with end users and a pool of commodities, in this respect elephants, rhinos and other sought-after wildlife. The end users of ivory and rhino horn most often come from East Asia and the Middle East, where ivory is used as jewellery and carved artefacts and horn is considered highly valuable in traditional medicine. Although a lot has

More people will lead to a higher demand for food, which is likely to result in increased meat poaching. In addition,


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