Tanzania presently has Africa's third-highest elephant population

The authorities said yesterday that, due to the success of anti-poaching efforts, the overall numbers of black rhinos and elephants had greatly recovered.

According to Mr. Mohamed Mchengerwa, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, the population of black rhinos, a threatened species, climbed from 163 in 2019 to 238 in 2022, exceeding the goal of having 205 rhinos by the end of 2023.

Mr. Mchengerwa said that the elephant population expanded from 43,330 in 2014 to 60,000 last year when he proposed the budget for his ministry in Parliament.

"Tanzania presently has Africa's third-highest elephant population as a consequence. Between July 2022 and April 2023, no elephant fatalities were attributed to poaching, according to wildlife security records," he claimed.

He continued by saying that initiatives to stop the illicit wildlife trade, illegal logging, and encroachment in protected areas helped anti-poaching campaigns. "This is a definite sign that poaching in Tanzania is declining," he added.

Due to the market's demand for their horns and tusks, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) still classifies black rhinos and elephants as critically endangered species.

The biggest and bloodiest danger to these animals, according to the WWF, is poaching for the illicit trade, which uses the horns and tusks for traditional medicine and increasingly as a status symbol to show off success and money.

The nation is home to the biggest populations of lions and giraffes, with 14,912 and 24,000 animals, respectively, according to Mr. Mchengerwa. "12,058 poacher perpetrators have been captured, and the minister has carried out special intelligence gathering enabling the cessation of poaching and illegal harvesting of forest resources," he said.

"We have confiscated 214 assault weapons (of which 12 rifles, 2 pistols, 45 shotguns, and 155 grenades) and 1,427 bullets, and we have annihilated seven poaching networks," the minister said.

According to Minister Mchengerwa, the tourist industry continued to function well in the 2022–2023 fiscal year, rebounding greatly from the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic and current Russia–Ukraine conflict.

1,711,625 tourists visited in 2021; 3,818,180 tourists visited in 2022, an increase of more than 123 percent. The number of domestic visitors saw the biggest improvement.

From the 788,933 visitors counted in 2021, the number of local travellers climbed to 2,363,260 in 2022, a rise of 199.5 percent. Over the same period, there were 57.7% more international visitors, going from 922,692 to 1,454,920.

Tourism revenue increased to $1.31 billion in 2021, and travel profit inflow increased to $2.52 billion in 2022. According to Mr. Mchengerwa, "the ministry will be adopting strategies to develop and change tourism throughout the three years from 2022/2023 to 2024/2025 to attain the $6 billion income and 5 million tourists objective by 2025 per the ruling party CCM platform.

"The tourist industry generates 17.5 percent of the GDP and 25% of all foreign currency revenues in the nation. On the other hand, the forest industry makes up 3.3 percent of the GDP and 5.9 percent of the country's foreign exchange earnings.

Planned budgets Mr. Mchengerwa requested that MPs approve Sh654.66 billion for the fiscal year 2023–2024 with plans to carry out significant projects. 

The report of a parliamentary committee, the Lands, Natural Resources, and Tourism Committee, advocated for the marketing of more tourist destinations in their statement to boost visitor spending.

These attractions, according to the committee's chairman, Mr. Timotheo Mnzava, include beach tourism, archaeological tourism, conference tourism, and woodland tourism.

To create and market new tourism sites in the nation and draw in more visitors, the government should collaborate with the business sector and other stakeholders, he added.

Effective management of wildlife resources was advised by Mr. Mnzava. He said that despite repeated recommendations to the government, no legislation defining the duties of the Tanzania Animal Management Authority (Tawa) had been submitted to parliament to address animal protection.

"The task force keeps insisting that the ministry ought to investigate and carry out this because the existence of a strong executive board with an official mandate could efficiently oversee the achievements of Tawa," he said.

The Public Finance Management and Reform Programme, phase VI, and the Resilient Natural Resources Management for Tourism and Growth Project are among the initiatives that the ministry hopes to carry out in the next fiscal year.

Additionally, the funds would be used to help private plantations, value chain projects, anti-poaching campaigns, and illicit wildlife trading.

Capacity development in forestry and beekeeping, support for the beekeeping value chain programme and food systems, as well as land use and landscape restoration in Tanzania, are other initiatives planned for this year.


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