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

Poacher shelter burned by rangers, Kimisi Game Reserve, November 2015

plan was to set up an early morning ambush at the most heavily used crossing point along the border river towards Rwanda. However, this had to be modified into a sweep instead, as the patrol did not arrive in the field early enough to catch the dawn infiltrations into the reserve. The sweep did not result in significant captures, as the activity along the riverbank, although illegal, was local people washing clothes and the like, which was not worthwhile pursuing. The patrol leaders subsequently decided to relocate north in the reserve to a lake where illegal fishing takes place. The main infiltration to the lake entered along a road from the south, and at the lake the rangers could witness illegal fishing, but at the far end. There were no plans on how to pursue waterborne poachers or how to access the other part of the lake. Instead, the rangers decided to fire into the air to demonstrate their presence. Unfortunately, this may have had the effect of demonstrating the rangers’ inability to conduct a determined pursuit. The poachers simply rowed away to the other side of the lake. Again, access to boats or better transport would have provided the rangers with more tools and options.

The second and third day of patrolling took place in Kimisi Game Reserve, close to the Rwandan border. The rangers successfully used high ground to assume an overwatch position, fromwhere they quickly spotted an illegal cattle herder. A patrol element was sent out and the patrol leader skilfully covertly approached and successfully apprehended the herder, taking him by surprise. A quick interrogation revealed that there were snares in the area. As this lead was pursued, additional trespassers were observed. The overwatch patrol element was called in as reinforcement in order to potentially stage an opportunistic ambush. The patrol instead came across a large number of snares, which were cut down and confiscated. During this activity, two snare poachers were apprehended. Pictures were taken, and the poachers’ shelter was burned down. The patrol activity was then interrupted because rain threatened sensitive equipment. On the exfiltration the patrol used the Y-formation successfully, which for patrol members led to a greater sense of security against ambush, and another apprehension of an illegal cattle herder. This revealed excellent standards of tactics and excellent use and application of skills taught.

Day four involved a mobile patrol, driving along the north- south road separating Kimisi and Burigi Game Reserves. The

The third day followed a similar approach as day two, with the same infiltration axis used into the same area. The original


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