The elephant poaching crisis in Tanzania: a need to reverse the trend and the way forward

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Over the past six years, elephant poaching and the illicit ivory trade have attracted global attention and Tanzania has been slated as one of the worst offenders. During the 2013 CITES Conference of the Parties in Bangkok, Tanzania, along with Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and China were labeled “the gang of eight”, singled out as being instrumental in fueling the illegal ivory trade either as suppliers, transit countries, or consumers. Individuals, conservation groups and local and international media have accused the Tanzanian government of inaction and have linked the current slaughter of elephants to increased criminality, corruption, the proliferation of firearms, the failure of the judicial system and a perception that Tanzania is a sanctuary for criminals. Besides tarnishing the image of the country, elephant poaching has undesirable effects on the ecological, economic and security aspects. This paper explores these effects and highlights the need for reversing the current trend of this crime. The paper provides an historical overview of poaching in Tanzania and urges for immediate action to halt the crime. Focusing on factors that are considered key in driving poaching, the paper recommends some proactive measures that should be adopted in order to reverse the current trend. The paper highlights the positive outcomes the adoption of these measures could have for conservation efforts


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Poaching, African elephant, Africa, Tanzania, Wildlife crime, Illicit trade