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


Meeting with Emmanuel T. Minja, Zonal Manager “Vehicles are a problem; the road conditions are very demanding, and the cars we have are exhausted. When deploying for patrols in the forest reserves, our rangers need to join game wardens or game reserve rangers that are armed due to the high risk of encounters with armed poachers. The main problem is that people in the surrounding villages and communities do not have jobs and income. The only solution for many is poaching in order to be able to take care of their families. Another problem is that there is a huge lack of schools. The youngsters are not given the chance to receive an education, andwill face big challengeswhen it comes to future employment and sustaining themselves. Livestock is also a huge problem. There is an abundance of farmland, but most of it is too dry and irrigation projects are highly needed. The livestock farmers thus drive their herds into the protected areas, and the animals displace the natural wildlife and overexploit the vegetation. There is a lot of illegal charcoal production taking place in the reserves. The perpetrators are mostly local people from the surrounding communities, but it seems to be a growing number of refugees from Burundi coming in from the west as well. These people are also engaged in meat, wood and honey poaching. It is forbidden to bring charcoal out of the region, but there is of course a lot of illegal smuggling taking place. Confiscated charcoal is auctioned, and then it is allowed to transport it out of the region. Currently, our focus is on consolidating forest boundaries and evicting encroachers. In terms of refugees, a notable problem is when criminals hide themselveswithin the group. It is not easy for me to say precisely who organizes the illegal logging, or identify the end markets. We simply do not have the information. Tree species, which are in danger of extinction in this region, include Pterocarpus angolensis and Afzelia quanzensis. With respect to equipment shortages, the most urgently needed kit is camping equipment, communications like push-to-talk radio, and forest inventory/assessment equipment.”

Rangers from Ugalla Game Reserve and Friedkin Conservation Fund interpret bicycle tracks from poachers, September 2015


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