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


in the bush remains as important as ever. In order to arrest and prosecute the key figures who organize poaching, it is vital to stop the poaching front line, including apprehending the actual people killing wildlife. Even if prosecution is successful, ultimately it is too late for the animals that have already been killed. And yet, disruption of poaching activities has a value in itself. For poachers, higher detection rates have a deterrent effect, as do variable penalties. Thus rangers need enhanced ability to demonstrate their presence in the bush, disrupt poachers and secure evidence of wildlife crime. An organized and systematic approach to crime-scene management is necessary in order to secure the often readily available evidence in such a way that prosecutors can convince judges that apprehended criminals are inextricably linked to crime scenes, not just there in the wrong place at the wrong time. The game and forest reserves in Tanzania span vast areas, while park rangers, game wardens and anti-poaching officers are few in number. Therefore, it is particularly crucial that

It is a well-known fact that poaching is part of a transnational, organized and worldwide business with links to organized criminal groups and consumers on all continents. This business is highly valuable for many actors, and interrupting their income is in many ways a very dangerous activity. The poachers on the ground in the bush are often armed, and even though they are not the ones organizing the activity and earning the big money, they are often desperate enough to do whatever is necessary to protect their income derived from killing wildlife. This means, of course, that they will do their best to outsmart law enforcement officers and park rangers, and if confronted they will often prefer to fight rather than surrender. This ongoing battle between poachers and wildlife- and forest rangers has indeed resulted in many rangers being killed. Corruption in Tanzania is relatively widespread. Individuals even up to the legislative and executive levels seem to give in to bribes offered by the organizers of wildlife crimes, making the struggle to stop this devastating business a highly demanding task. However, the work that the rangers perform on the ground


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