On Wednesday Tanzanian officials rejected a report by WWF claiming the country could see its elephant population decimated by 2022 (BBC). The conservationist group reports that rapid poaching has reduced the elephant population by 90% in less than 40 years (WWF). “The elephant population in Selous is now near a historic low, and urgent measures are required to protect the remaining animals and return the population to a stable and sustainable size,” the report said (BBC). The country’s largest reserve housed 110,000 elephants in the 1970s but today only 15,000 remain (All Africa). In response Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has pledged to eradicate poaching as a part of his war on corruption.
Selous relies heavily on revenue from safari tourism and is the source of an estimated $6 million a year to Tanzania’s economy (Reuters). The secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Gaudence Milanzi, denies the WWF report’s claim. He states the report did not account for the success of current efforts to reduce poaching over the past two years. Secretary Milanzi also reported that although elephant populations are rising and stabilizing their efforts are a work in progress and will continue improvements (Reuters). “I am sure these projections that elephants could vanish at the Selous by 2022 are based on past events, not the current situation on the ground,” he said (Reuters).
Tags: African Development, Jaczko, Tanzania, Selous, endangered species, elephants