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The Tunduru District Commissioner, Hon. Julius Mtatiro has officiated the National Elephant and World Rhino Day on 22nd September, 2020 with a theme ‘’Human Elephant Conflicts’’ and ‘’Rhino Species Forever’’ respectively. The event was celebrated in Tunduru District, one of the two district in Ruvuma Land dscape with high Human Wildlife conflicts caused by elephants. Tunduru district lies in land scape with Black Rhino in Africa. Rhinos are such as an impressive symbol of strength, resilience and tenacity that it would be heart-breaking to have those traits disappear.

Prior to the event, Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) teamed up with Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA), World Wide Fund (WWF), Nyerere National Park, and Representative from District Council (Wildlife) and  some of the beneficiaries (community members, leaders) from the Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) like Ikona, Enduimet, Burunge and Serengeti National Park located in the Northern circuit to learn and share experiences on the role of communities in tackling poaching and Illegal wildlife trade in the WMAs under the Southern circuit. The team visited Misyaje, Majimaji and Hulia villages which have higher Human Wildlife conflicts to created awareness and it was observed that communities are really affected since their farms and crops are destructed by the wild animals. From the visit, it was also experienced that there are insufficient tools, weak man power and low understanding of communities on conservation as they don’t see direct benefits out of it due to lack of investors in the landscape compared with the Northern circuits.

Tunduru district was noted as one of the two districts in Tanzania with high rate of human wildlife conflicts. In celebration of the day, stakeholders joined together with MNRT had roundtable discussion to come with initiatives of how they can joint work together to address Human Wildlife Conflicts (HWC) and improve protection of these two species. Among the areas agreed is the need to operationalize Antipoaching Strategy, Wildlife corridors regulations, proper land use planning, strategy to support affected communities, procedure of handling cases for poachers, Human wildlife conflict Strategy and monitoring and evaluation of various approaches and initiatives of protection  of these species. 

Hon. Mtatiro recommended that the Government should invest more in preventive measures which are practical like adding numbers of trained village game scouts, increase the tools for patrolling and more trainings to village councils and communities and stakeholders to support them with investments.