WILDLIFE CRIME IN AFRICA
Combating poaching and the illegal trade in threatened wildlife species through an integrated approach – New UNDP GEF projects in Tanzania and Mozambique
Both in Tanzania and in Mozambique, high international demand for wildlife products, the prevalence of poverty among local communities, and lack of awareness on the problems resulting from wildlife crime are key root causes of widespread poaching and habitat degradation.
Today, these issues are framed as ‘Wildlife and Forest Crime, Illegal Wildlife Trade’ (IWT).
The two new projects, one in Tanzania and the other one in Mozambique, are part of a global GEF program for ITW, which proposes to deal with these issues, and whose title is:
"Promote wildlife conservation, wildlife crime prevention and pro-conservation sustainable development to reduce impacts to known threatened species from poaching and illegal trade."
Protected areas in Tanzania have been generally well managed and national capacity for it is generally good.
The resurgence in wildlife crime posed a different set of challenges.
In 2014, the Government of Tanzania developed and approved the National Anti-Poaching and illegal Wildlife Trade (APIWT) Strategy.
Implementing the strategy and enforcing the laws requires, however, concerted support.
Tanzania’s Wildlife Crime Project aims to combat poaching and the illegal wildlife trade through an integrated approach.
Ruaha and Rungwa will be focus sites for this new project.
Communities, protected area managing authorities and the government’s law enforcement and justice bodies are pulling efforts and working together to achieve results.
The new UNDP GEF project will support the Government of Tanzania in implementing the APIWT Strategy by strengthening legislation and institutional capacity to tackle poaching and wildlife trafficking at national and site levels, and by increasing the intensity of international collaboration to fight wildlife crime with neighboring countries.
Conservation efforts have been significantly up-scaled in Mozambique in the past years.
Yet, in 2014, the poaching of elephants for their ivory reached a record high, especially in the north of the country which borders up to Tanzania and holds one of Africa’s largest elephant ranges.
Two sites, under the respective management of NGOs Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Gorongosa Restoration Project (GRP), will benefit from the new UNDP GEF project for combating wildlife crime in Mozambique:
Niassa National Reserve with 42,000 sq km
Gorongosa National Park with 10,000 sq km
Mozambique’s National Strategy on Wildlife and Forest Crime and Illegal Wildlife Trafficking will receive support for being implemented, both a government’s central level and in on the ground.
In addition, new community conservation areas will be created and strengthened both in the surroundings of Gorongosa National Park and within the vast area of the Niassa Reserve.
This should help create opportunities for local stakeholders, who would otherwise have few alternatives to poaching and subsistence agriculture.
The EBDGLOs CEO prepared the concept note for the Mozambique ITW project in 2015.