April marks the commencement of a month dedicated to protecting animals domestically and in the wild. This can only be achieved by both acknowledging the destructive nature of humans and by raising awareness for our potential to do something proactive.
In recent years, poaching (even that which is legally sanctioned) has prompted outcry on a global scale. The commodification of Rhino horns, Elephant tusks and exotic skins & furs is devastating but where there is demand, supply will undoubtedly continue.
Tanzania is not only home to Africa’s greatest mammal migration but also has THE largest animal concentration per square kilometre in the world! Amazingly, almost one third of the country is protected as National Parks, Conservation Reserves & Game Reserves. Here at ‘All Around Tanzania Safaris’ we can take you through the Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Lake Natron and Arusha National Parks, as well as the Ngorongoro Crater to see so many of the country’s native animals, up close and in the wild.
However, despite such a large percentage of the country being dedicated to the preservation and protection of Tanzanian Wildlife, some species have been poached to near extinction. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, wildlife crimes reached unprecedented rates sadly seeing two of “The Big 5” hit crisis level.
Shockingly, over a period of just five years Tanzania experienced a loss of 60% of its Elephant population.
Our Personal Experiences & What You Can Expect with AATz!
Whilst the threat to Wildlife may seem devastatingly large, this does not for one second mean that government, community and eco-tourism initiatives are not showing signs of success. Our founder Fiona shares with you her personal experiences surrounding conservation and the protection of Tanzanian Wildlife;
“I have been on many Safaris to the Ngorongoro over the years. 8 years ago, you would have been LUCKY to see even a snippet of the allusive Rhino. I have just returned (March 2019) from accompanying one of our ‘All Around Tanzania Safari’ tours and saw a magical 6 Rhinos and 2 with babies! I was so delighted to know that preservation efforts are working and it is so pleasing to see first-hand that the Rhinos really are being protected!
On this most recent Safari I also included a Gorilla Trek, which was incredibly awesome. We share 98.5% DNA with these animals and I cannot begin to put into words how privileged I felt to sit amongst the Gorilla’s. I was told they eat 25kg of greenery a day, each. I immediately thought ‘we need to protect these forests for them’.
In the middle of the Serengeti we followed a Lioness with 4 cubs through the Savannah. After so many trips over to this beautiful country, I know how incredible it is to see them in such great condition. The conservation efforts of Tanzanian communities, government & the eco-tourism industry has really improved survival chances of these cubs with access to plenty of food and water. Keep in mind though, the Animal Kingdom has its own rules and laws and if another male Lion comes along it’s likely he will kill the cubs and mate with Lioness for his own to be born. The natural Circle of Life in the Savannah!”
Many of our Safari’s are aimed around you being able to spot “The Big 5” and without animal protection efforts in Tanzania we wouldn’t be able to get as up close to the Wildlife as we do! (All the photos featured in this blog have been taken by ourselves & guests of AATz).
Our other co-founder Marco has over 20 years’ experience as a Safari guide and we (and you!) are so lucky to have all his knowledge. Make sure you test him on your next Safari as we so often receive feedback on how much he knows about Tanzania’s native plants and Wildlife!
“Marco’s compassionate heart made us never want to leave. Marco is so passionate about the animals in his country, and it shows. His pride in having a sustainable tourism industry truly shows in his work ethic.” – Renee 2019.
‘All Around Tanzania Safaris’ supports sustainable travel initiatives! From employing local people to ensuring game parks remain protected and pristine. We do this by supporting local schools, orphanages, business and practices that conserve and protect the local area.
On another personal note from Fiona;
“Driving through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, I was really upset to see that the Maasi and their cattle had encroached EVEN further into the conservation area to feed the numerous cows. These cows are bred for meat and milk but they not only eat huge amounts of feed, they also bring diseases to the native Wildlife. I say, eat less meat and preserve what is native, endangered and protected!”
What’s Being Done in Tanzania?
1. Canine Detection Units
The African Wildlife Foundation’s Canine for Conservation program has helped to, at the very least disrupt the global wildlife trade. They are active at trafficking checkpoints in airports, seaports and at border crossings and continue to uncover illegal ivory, Rhino horn and animal skins.
2. 300-man Force
In November 2018, the Tanzanian Government launched a 313-person squad tasked explicitly with combating poaching and illegal trafficking. Operating under Natural Resources and Tourism the move will not only help to preserve and increase wildlife but also boost tourism to continue to raise awareness. Impressively, the Tanzanian government seems determined to cooperate and ensure the nationwide anti-poaching operations become successful.
You may have seen this on our Facebook page earlier this year, however it is so exciting to see Tanzania take anti-poaching seriously, we just had to share it again! In February 2019, Yang Feng Glan (aka The Queen of Ivory) was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Guilty of smuggling 860 Elephant tusks which authorities say are worth approximately $6.45 million (USD). It took an entire year-long manhunt PLUS three years’ of delays but this sentence will send a strong message to other poachers and traffickers. Despite the connections the Queen of Ivory had with Chinese and Tanzanian elites alike, it proves that nobody is above the law!
In 2018 China, previously the world’s biggest ivory market, banned all trade in ivory and ivory products into the country. This decision by the Chinese government has aided the Tanzanian goal towards a zero tolerance to poaching and illegal trade of animal products.
5. United Nations Global Development Network
UNDP have set up a National Strategy to Combat Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade. Previously named the “epicentre of Africa’s Elephant poaching crisis”, Tanzania has seen a negative effect on both socioeconomic and ecosystems alike. The aim is to strengthen legislation and capacity to tackle poaching at a national level.
Local communities are becoming more and more involved in Wildlife enforcement and monitoring. Lessons learned are being made available nationally and internationally to raise awareness about issues with biodiversity and wildlife crime.
**note that all photos in this blog are taken on our AATz Safaris. You really can see how close up we get to the animals!
What Can You Do?
There are a number of things you can do to help!
Raise awareness about illegal poaching and trade in Africa
Do NOT buy animal products such as ivory, Rhino horns, animal furs and skins. Cut illegal poachers and traffickers off at the demand! Then there is no need for supply.
Do your research properly and ensure you know who and what you are supporting / donating too. Some starting points / suggestions;
o “PAMS Foundation” who were an important part in the capture and sentencing of The Queen of Ivory
Support Sustainable Tourism! Eco-tourism is a huge part of the Tanzanian Economy and it’s important to support this but make sure you’re doing it sustainably! This will ensure a flow on effect from tourism – economy – legislation – conservation and African Wildlife will continue to thrive!
Remembering Wildlife! This is a charity book series dedicated to creating beautiful photography books and so far have published Remembering Elephants, Remembering Rhinos, Remembering Great Apes and coming soon in 2019 Remembering Lions! The mission is to sell these books to raise awareness of the threats to each species and all proceeds go towards protection and conservation! Find out more here!
Education! This is at the heart of everything we do at All Around Tanzania Safaris #travelwithpurpose and we are obviously passionate about this beyond the borders of Tanzania! Learn as much as you can, go on Safari, talk to other like-minded people, attend seminars, the list goes on.
Volunteer! We know not everyone has the ability to travel to Tanzania / overseas regularly to help out so why not start at home? Volunteer for Wildlife rescuers & animal shelters. Change starts one step at a time.
There is so much you can do to help beyond these suggestions as well.
In celebration of Jane Goodall’s birthday on April 3rd, as well as of her dedication to animal conservation we hope her words can inspire you today;
We would love to hear from you! Do you have stories like Fiona’s? Have you been to Tanzania more than once and noticed the difference in wildlife and what you see? Can you share your stories of conservation & animal protection? Please comment or message us on Facebook and Instagram and let us know!
As always, we can’t wait to hear from you!
Jaimee & Steph
All Around Tanzania Marketing Team.