Conservation group rescues 1000 animals from traps in Tanzania

FILE- REUTERS They look harmless enough but an animal caught in a snare will die.
They look harmless enough but an animal caught in a snare will die.

A conservation organization in Tanzania’s Serengeti ecosystem has rescued more than 1,000 wild animals from snares mounted by poachers, a report by the organization said on Tuesday.

Grumeti Fund, a conservation organization in the Serengeti ecosystem, successfully removed 1,392 snares used by poachers in trapping and ultimately killing wild animals in the area, said the report.

The report said Grumeti Fund was carrying out the de-snaring program in collaboration with Tanzanian government agencies carrying out wildlife conservation and community development work along the western corridor.

The Grumeti Fund’s Impact Report 2018 said the animals were mostly trapped and poached either for bush-meat and ivory, particularly from elephants.

“Snaring is a serious problem affecting wild animals in the Serengeti ecosystem,” said the report.

Apart from removing the snares from the wild animals, the Grumeti Fund also managed to seize 187 traditional weapons used by suspected poachers traversing the area as well as achieving a 50 percent success rate in arrests using covert cameras.

The Grumeti Fund says its mission is to contribute to the conservation of the Serengeti ecosystem, its natural landscape, and its wildlife. Its operations combine cutting-edge technology with well-trained boots on the ground to combat the poaching menace.

The Fund partners with local communities and other stakeholders to build capacity and thereby help them to realize their conservation and development aspirations.

In November 2018, it was announced that more than 17,000 snares used by poachers to kill wildlife in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park were seized during a de-snaring program that started in April 2017.

The program was supported by a handful of tour operators and stakeholders with a vested interest in protecting the Serengeti’s spectacular wildlife, working together with Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).

Erik Winberg, FZS Project Manager, Serengeti Conservation Program, said the de-snaring teams consisted of eight former poachers who were recruited from the villages in the Serengeti ecosystem for their expertise in snaring and TANAPA game rangers who works closely with the Serengeti National Park authorities to collect snares before they do harm.

Winberg had told Xinhua in an interview that the impact of the de-snaring program was impressive.

“We have so far seized 17,536 snares, 32 poachers have been arrested, 125 poacher camps were found, 530 animals were found dead and 175 animals were released alive,” added Winberg.

Winberg said the arrested poachers were handed over to TANAPA’s law enforcement unit for prosecution according to the Tanzania law.

He said most of the trapped and killed animals were the wildebeest, adding that the poachers were mainly locals who put the snares for bush meat.

In 2017, several local tour operators and other tourism stakeholders joined forces with a single goal of protecting Serengeti’s spectacular wildlife by donating money from their businesses.

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