Assessment of trade flows of wildlife products: the case of Ruaha landscape, Tanzania

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Sokoine university of agriculture


Wildlife species are utilized and traded in a wide range of items, including food, clothing, medicines, pets, ornaments, building and construction materials all over the world. However, in many parts of East Africa, the trade patterns of these products are inadequately documented, making it difficult to build good strategic management and long-term conservation plans. The Ruaha landscape in southern Tanzania is home to a potential animal population and is one of the hotspot locations for wildlife trade. The purpose of this research in the Ruaha landscape was to (i) assess the wildlife poaching practices (ii) to assess the temporal variation of illegal hunting and (iii) Map illegal trade flow of wildlife products and facilitation methods in the Ruaha landscape Tanzania. A semi-structured interview was conducted using the Snowball method to gather the necessary information. The data was analysed using Chi-square tests, Social Network Analysis (SNA), and Generalized Linear Models (GLM) with Poisson and Binomial error distributions. Impala, did-dik, guinea fowls, kudu, and lions were found to be the most hunted species, and meat, skin, claws, fat, and ivory were the most often collected wildlife products. The majority of the products were utilized for food and as sources of revenue. Domestic dogs, spears, snares, and torches were found being used in hunting and this was frequently being done at night. Occupation, ethnic group, religion, residency time, number of individuals participated in each hunt, presence of moonlight, age, and education of respondents were the factors influencing the hunting. However, during the last five years, the overall tendency revealed a drop in hunting, while animal protection in protected areas increased. According to the findings, 70% of the wildlife products came from Ruaha National Park and MBOMIPA Wildlife Management Areas, with the other 30% coming from villages near these protected areas. Bicycles and walking were the primary modes of transportation for wildlife products. In addition, the findings suggest that respondents have long and deep relationships with their clients and merchants, the majority of whom are friends and relatives. It was also shown that the majority of poachers are motivated to engage in illegal wildlife trafficking by their friends and relatives. Furthermore, in circumstances where customers and sellers lacked cash, commodities such as corn and rice were traded for wildlife products. When it comes to illegal wildlife hunting the findings of this study provide critical information on the importance of taking species and ethnic group peculiarities into account. Wildlife protection, such as day and night patrols, is critical, particularly at night. In order to address illegal wildlife hunting in this landscape, sociological aspects must be taken into account. Increased law enforcement could have a positive impact on the declining trend of wildlife hunting. As a result, it is suggested that providing conservation education, in combination with an employment, may help to reduce illegal wildlife product off-take in the Ruaha landscape.




Trade flows, Wildlife products, Ruaha, Landscape, Tanzania