The news about our environment and wildlife has not been very positive over the last few years. But as awareness regarding global warming and the disappearance of certain species is increasing, it seems like we may be in for some good news after all, which is exactly how we’d describe what Tanzania officials said this month.
Thanks to its crackdown on poaching, Tanzania says the population of rhinos and elephants are growing.
Understanding the Issue
Tanzania has mostly been at the center of the poaching crisis. The country reportedly lost more than 60% of its entire elephant population in just five years, due in large part because of poaching activity in the area. The population of rhinos had a similar fate.
But its recent anti-poaching efforts are a means to put an end to it. One more publicized example was that of the ‘Ivory Queen’s’ arrest and sentencing to 15 years imprisonment by Tanzanian officials. Many other poaches have also been convicted and must serve jail time.
However, these seem to be a small discrepancy in the number of rhinos reported by the Tanzanian presidency. Reuters points out that while the official statement claims the number of rhinos in 2015 was just 15, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) claimed there were 133 rhinos in 2015. Tanzanian officials have not yet addressed the discrepancy.
We are at a time where anti-poaching legislation or initiatives should not be negotiated – they should be reinforced. Better oversight of poaching in Tanzania by government officials is the only way to protect the many species residing in the area, and that are in danger of becoming extinct if we do not act.
Though poaching is just one issue putting these species in danger, it is a step in the right direction.