Elephants in Tanzania

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Death of an Elephant

Bull elephant killed by poachers in Tanzania, 2013
Mzee and Bernard Shirima, at Naitolia Camp, with the carcass of a young bull elephant killed by poachers on September 27

Only ten days ago, this young bull elephant came into our safari camp at Naitolia, Tanzania to die. Mad with pain and terror, he was fleeing poachers who had shot him for his tusks, as he and other young bulls were feeding on open land near the town of Makuyuni, north of Tarangire National Park.

Maybe he knew the forest was a place of safety where the men with guns could not follow. Perhaps it was familiarity that drove him there — he and his kin may well have browsed peacefully in this spot since they were calves, 20 years or so ago. We will never know. What we do know is that late on Friday, September 27, the elephant finally succumbed, dying in the place he had sought sanctuary.

Who can protect Tanzania's Wildlife?

In the last five to ten years, there has been a movement away from the community conservation that I believe in so strongly.

Firstly there is the move by ex-pats, foreign investors and even a well known wildlife NGO towards the Southern African model of private game reserves and ranches. The second is the move by the Wildlife Department to disenfranchise the local Masai  owners by legislating against communities being able to directly benefit from wildlife on their village lands.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Masai as Conservationists

Masai girl, Tanzania
Young Masai girl, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Reports of Masai “corruption” regarding African wildlife are creating confusion amongst tourists and the general public. In this blog, I want to address the rumours and try to explain what’s really happening.