Vehicles boost law enforcement efforts in Selous and Serengeti
Joint Press release by the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and Frankfurt Zoological Society.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 5 September 2016 - Today, Gerald Bigurube of Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) presented 21 off-road vehicles to Professor Jumanne Maghembe, the Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism. The vehicles are provided through FZS to the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) and the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) for surveillance of wildlife and the fight against poaching in the Selous Game Reserve and Serengeti National Park.
The handover ceremony took place at the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism office building, Mpingo House. Minister Maghembe received 21 Land Cruiser vehicles on behalf of the Tanzanian Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) and the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA).
“In recent days, we have witnessed growing conservation challenges mainly due to increased incidents of poaching, particularly of elephant. If poaching is not controlled, it will lead to the decrease of elephants in large scale as it happened for rhinos which are now endangered,” said Minister Maghembe. “On behalf of the government of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and my own behalf, I would like to thank Frankfurt Zoological Society for the donation of these vehicles”.
FZS handed over ten Land Cruiser pick-up trucks to the Selous Game Reserve and eleven to Serengeti National Park. The vehicles will be used by the Tanzanian authorities of the protected areas to strengthen law enforcement efforts.
“The Serengeti is the longest running conservation project of Frankfurt Zoological Society’s engagement in Tanzania and remains at the core of our conservation work in Africa. And we are now reinforcing our efforts in the Selous” said Gerald Bigurube, the FZS Tanzania Country Director.
Long-term presence and close cooperation with the authorities are at the core of the FZS strategy to conserve wildlife and ecosystems. “The 21 vehicles we are handing over today are part of our sustained commitment to the protection of these areas,” Bigurube said.
FZS has committed to the ongoing maintenance of these vehicles and has restored the workshops in Serengeti and is reconstructing one at Matambwe in the Selous.
The Serengeti-Mara and Selous ecosystems are critical areas for elephants, with together about 23,000 elephants, about half of Tanzania’s elephant population. The two areas form important strongholds for this species’ distribution in East Africa.
Both areas are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. However, in 2014, the Selous was listed as a World Heritage Site ‘in danger’. TAWA is enhancing efforts to protect the Selous to counter ecosystem degradation and to protect its vast wilderness. The authority was formed in the country’s determined effort to tackle poaching. TAWA oversees areas of almost 160,000 square kilometres.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Selous Game Reserve in the Southeast of Tanzania covers about 51,000 km2 and is one of Africa’s largest protected areas. The reserve has an exceptionally high variety of habitats including Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps with diverse communities of plants and animals. FZS has been supporting the protection of the Selous since the early 1980s with assistance in aerial surveys, provision of an aircraft for conservation purposes, and providing technical and logistic support. FZS is continuing its presence and engagement in the area with Pauline Quierzy as the leader of the FZS Selous Conservation Project.
The Serengeti National Park was set up as Tanzania’s first National Park to protect the core area of the Serengeti-Mara-ecosystem that is famous for the Great Migration. Each year, wildebeests, zebras and other grazing animals migrate from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. Frankfurt Zoological Society began working in Serengeti National Park during the 1950’s and continues its work there today supporting TANAPA with training, resource protection and infrastructural assistance.