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De-snaring initiative receives shot in the arm for Serengeti

De-snaring initiative receives shot in the arm for Serengeti

A de-snaring program aimed at suppressing new fatal poaching in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park has received a boost thanks to a tour operator who donated a patrol vehicle worth $25,000.

The de-snaring program’s key objective is to fight against the rampant snares set by local bush-meat mongers to catch massive wildlife within the country’s flagship national park of Serengeti.

As part of its corporate social responsibility, Ranger Safaris handed over the four-wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser to support the team spearheading the e-snaring initiative.

“It’s obvious that if Serengeti wildlife gets wiped out, our tourism business will also suffer irreparably, so we decided to support the war against poaching,” Ranger Safaris Director, Mr. Sanjay Gajjar, explained.

The Serengeti National Park Chief Warden, Mr. William Mwakilema, confirmed that a yet neglected subsistence of poaching is becoming a real threat, as local people have adopted wire snares to catch massive animals indiscriminately, thanks to human population growth.

According to Mr. Mwakilema, official data shows that from July to September 2017 alone, a total of 790 various species of wildlife have been killed by the wire snares within Serengeti National Park, painting a clear picture of the scale of the threat.

Tanzania National Park’s (TANAPA) document seen by eTurboNews shows that a total of 500 Wildebeests were killed during the period under review, followed by 110 Zebras and 54 Thomson Gazelle.

Other slain wildlife animals include 35 Topi, 28 Buffalo, 27 Impala, 19 Warthog, and 17 Eland, the document indicates.

July was the worst month as it saw a total of 376 wildlife animals slaughtered, compared to August and September when 248 and 166 were killed, respectively.

Yet another new report documented the snares-related wildlife catch by Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) from mid-April to early October 2017, indicates that a total of 7,331 snares had been discovered and removed from the Serengeti National Park, meaning that in every month, bush-meat poachers set nearly 1,222 snares to hook animals.

FZS is, along with Tourism Investors, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and other stakeholders, pioneering the de-snaring program in the Serengeti to suppress this new and fatal poaching method.

Receiving the vehicle, FZS Project Manager, Mr. Erik Winberg, of the de-snaring program, commended Ranger Safaris for their support, urging other tourism stakeholders to emulate this spirit.

He said the de-snaring program, which started mid-April 2017, had discovered 384 animals trapped in snares of which about 100 were successfully rescued alive.

Going by the statistics, this means that at least 64 animals were being slaughtered every month by snares at Serengeti National Park alone.

The magnitude of the challenge demonstrates the need for acting fast, given the high rate of snaring and losses incurred during the annual migration season.

Mr. Winberg said that May, June, and July were critical months, as poachers actively set snares along well-established migration pathways leading to the north, particularly at the Kogatende and other hot spots in the northwestern part of the Serengeti.

“The de-snaring initiative can mitigate huge losses of migrants and gives TANAPA rangers space to apprehend poachers,” he stressed.

Much as the tour operators’ activities heavily rely on the welfare of the Serengeti ecosystem, concerted efforts towards conservation of the ecology is the surest way of sustaining both Tanzania’s wildlife heritage and the tourism industry, said Chief Executive Officer with TATO, Mr. Sirili Akko.