On Saturday, Tanzania’s President directed Tanzanian security forces to hunt down poachers and all criminals financing the poaching of elephants.
Tanzania is home to Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, as well as wildlife parks. This brings a lot of revenue to the east African country through tourism. However, with the rise of wildlife poaching, Tanzania’s tourism revenue is hanging off a cliff.
“I am behind you … arrest all those involved in this illicit trade, no one should be spared regardless of his position, age, religion … or popularity,” Magufuli said in a statement.
“Go after all of them … so that we protect our elephants from being slaughtered.”
The order was made following the President’s visit to the Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam. There the president saw 50 elephant tusks which were seized from poachers.
“This is unacceptable. We cannot allow our natural resources to be lost because of the greed of a few people,” President Magufuli said while examining the seized tusks.
He added that the Tanzania’s National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) have his full support in their fight against elephant poaching.
Elephant and Rhino poaching in Africa have reached an all-time high, thereby shrinking greatly the population of these animals. According to a census conducted in 2015, the elephant population in Tanzania shrank from 110,000 in 2009 to around 43,000 in 2014. Also, Rhinos are said to be on the verge of extinction.
These animals are hunted for their ivory, which has a high demand in Asia, as ornaments, medicines, and plaques are usually made out of them.
President Magufuli, who assumed office as president of Tanzania in 2015, vowed to fight corruption and mismanagement. To further prove his dedication to these goals, he fired the police director of criminal investigation, Diwani Athumani for no publicly-said reason.
However, a police source told Reuters that Athuwani was fired because the President was not satisfied with progress in the fight against crime, including ivory smuggling.