NEWS 2008



Wherevere the traditional hunter-gatherer cultures have been exterminated, criminal gangs of takers invade!

Tanzania's National Icon in Jeopardy!

Poaching activities threaten giraffe population

2007: A difficult year for wildlife

by Valentine Marc Nkwame

A total of 210 giraffes were killed in the wild of West Kilimanjaro between February and December 2007, wildlife disasters history.

Carcasses of giraffes killed by poachers in Naiti Village of Monduli in recent years

Two giraffes were butchered in West Kilimanjaro wildlife corridor in the night of December 2, bringing the total number of killed giraffes to more than 210 within just 10 months.

Local game rangers say at least 20 giraffes are killed every month on average, a trend that has reportedly been going on since February this year.

Alfred Kikoti the director of Kilimanjaro Elephant Research and Conservation Program said poaching was a common vice in the vicinity.

"This year alone more than 106 different varieties of animals were killed. The poachers butchered 50 zebras, 50 gazelles, 10 ostriches and 5 impalas in the process," he said.

"At this pace, there is a danger that the entire West Kilimanjaro corridor will lose all its wildlife in less than five years from now."

West Kilimanjaro is a corridor lying between Kenyaís Amboseli Game reserve, Arusha National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro Game Park.

According to Kikoti more than 20 elephants were also killed in the area between 2000 and 2005.

"All carcasses were found without their tusks and missing various body parts," said Kikoti.

As for the recent giraffe killings, the game scouts said they first saw bright torch lights in the night of Saturday, December 1.

"We followed them and found a team of men skinning the huge animals," said Obeid Daniel the head game scout.

All except one managed to escape. The scouts arrested one of the suspects a 27-year-old man who was identified as Paul Sylvester.

Coincidentally, the Arushaís district magistrate court was at that time trying another suspect, a resident of Monduli who was arrested with giraffe meat.

"It is not easy to man the entire wild landscape of West Kilimanjaro since most remote areas are not accessible either by car or on foot and the local game rangers are ill equipped for the job!"

Giraffe is reportedly a favourite delicacy among some people who wrongly believe that the animalís bone-marrow soup can cure HIV-Aids.

Although Tanzania allows legal game hunting, giraffes are exempted from the hunterís list since they are a national symbol.

In 2004 four giraffes were killed in Monduli area and since then the animal killings remain a mystery as nobody was ever arrested in connection with the crime.

2007 was a year of wildlife disasters in the northern zone.

In September this year, a total of 23 wild dogs were poisoned and killed in Loliondo game controlled area. It is still a mystery who did it, how and why.