Tanzania’s elephant census moves to the Northern circuit


(Posted 04th March 2014)

Following the elephant census carried out late last year covering the Selous and Ruaha – which came back with devastating results about a very sharp drop in elephant numbers – have news emerged that the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute will shortly commence a similar census covering the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara and Tarangire. Supported once again by the Frankfurt Zoological Society and other development partners, this census is seen as crucial to establish current game counts and then respond vis a vis added protective measures where numbers have gone into steep decline. FZS donated equipment worth over 200.000 Euros to the research institute, including vehicles, generators, camp equipment and computers used to correlate the information from the field.

Tanzania has been under close scrutiny over the commercial scale slaughter of their elephant which for instance in the Selous saw a reduction from the 2007 count which spoke of between 65 – 70.000 elephant to just over 13.000 in the survey carried out last year, a damning indictment of the current government’s turning a blind eye for too long to the problem of poaching. Only recently did TANAPA in conjunction with KWS conduct a survey in the Taita Taveta / Tsavo West / Mkomanzi NP area, which also showed a decline compared to the last census a few years ago.

Following the London Conservation Conference which discussed wildlife crimes, there have been soothing noises from Dar es Salaam and increased commitment to fight the poaching gangs, but only time will tell how words will, or will not, turn to action. Watch this space.

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