Monday, April 4, 2016
Germany donates aircraft to help in war on poaching
The German government has donated an aircraft to Tanzania to reinforce anti-poaching efforts in Selous Game Reserve, located in southern part of the country.
Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Gerd Müller, handed over a symbolic key of the ‘Husky aircraft’ worth 498,292,000/- to Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Jumanne Maghembe.
According to their joint statement issued yesterday , the aircraft will be deployed by Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) in close cooperation with the Tanzanian Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) for surveillance of wildlife in the Selous Game Reserve and to support the fight against poaching.Speaking at the hand-over ceremony held at Matambwe Airstrip in the game reserve, the German Minister said: “Poaching threatens biodiversity in many of Africa’s remaining wilderness areas and undermines security of nations and the livelihoods of people.”
Müller added: “Handing this aircraft over to the Tanzanian authorities and FZS is an important cornerstone of our longstanding support for the Selous Game Reserve and the adjacent communities.”
“For a large area like the Selous Game Reserve, one of the largest uninhabited protected areas of Africa, aerial surveillance is vital,” said Minister Maghembe. He thanked the German government for the support in countering the recent upsurge in poaching.
“This aircraft will also help the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority carrying out wildlife and habitat monitoring in the Selous as one of Tanzania’s biodiversity hotspots of global relevance,” he added.
The group visited the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve to discuss the conservation challenges on-site. They also met with representatives of the private sector to explore ways to combine wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism. The German Ambassador Egon Kochanke underlined that “The Selous Game Reserve is not only one of the largest protected areas in Africa but also the centrepiece of the new Tanzania Wildlife Authority.”
The area has been hit very hard by poachers: Between 2009 and 2014, the population of approximately 45,000 elephants at that time has been decimated to approximately 15,000. Today, all of Tanzania is estimated to have about 45,000 elephants, 60percent less than in 2009.
“Poaching is a severe threat to biodiversity,” said Christof Schenck, CEO of Frankfurt Zoological Society, “not only because it can lead to local extinctions of targeted species like elephant and rhino, but because their disappearance can harm the ecosystem altogether. Frankfurt Zoological Society is committed to contribute to halting the deterioration of the Selous.”
In 1982, the Selous was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, the Selous is regarded as a World Heritage Site ‘in danger’. By UNESCO standards, extraction of mineral resources and large-scale land use change are prohibited. “Now is the time to enhance protection of the area to enable wildlife populations to regrow and to restore the secured status of the World Heritage Site,“ says Schenck.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
at 8:30 AM