Tanzania conservation news – TAWIRI needs funding to fulfill presidential directive on anti poaching and conservation

President Jakaya Kikwetes directive to TAWIRI, to strengthen anti poaching measures and devise ways and means to protect crucially endangered wildlife, which followed the recent submission of a devastating report on game numbers in the Selous Game Reserve and other parks, may not be quite as swiftly implemented as one could be tempted to think. TAWIRI, the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, has now let it be known that they are lacking funding to step up anti poaching operations. A regular conservation source in Dar es Salaam had this to say: It is fair and good to give directives but what about funding. The wildlife sector is underfacilitated and cannot carry out its mandate the way they are supposed to. Partners from overseas are also holding back because there are so many unanswered questions about our countrys commitment to conservation. The Serengeti issue, the Lake Natron issue, the Coelacanth marine park issue, the uranium mining and plans for a big dam in the Selous and on those issues our government has been speaking with a forked tongue. Our credibility has suffered by saying one thing, then doing another and then even making U-turns like the road across the Serengeti. Donors want to be sure that when they support a park, support TANAPA or TAWIRI, that there is lasting value and those parks are kept intact and not cut up by roads or for mining.
It appears that too much is expected from these organizations, under their existing mandate and by special directives without providing the budget to carry out these functions satisfactorily. Wildlife based tourism is a key economic sector for Tanzania but depends on goodwill, visible conservation measures and measurable commitments by government to financially support wildlife management, not just by mouth but by chequebook. Watch this space.

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