Tanga. Persistence of poaching using locally made guns and wire traps have been named as some of the major challenges facing the Saadani National Park since its inception in 2005.
Speaking in Tanga, the Saadani Chief Park Warden, Assistant Commissioner of National Parks, Grace Lobora said that there has been several incidents of poaching using such guns and wire traps, which she described as one of the worst poaching techniques that kills or injures many wild animals.
She said that a total of 1,118 poachers were apprehended in a total of 1,960 incidents that occurred between 2005 and 2018. “A total of 656 weapons, mostly rifles, shotguns and hand- made guns were seized by Park Authorities, mostly during the Operation Tokomeza,” Lobora revealed.
Clarifying on poaching using hand-made guns, the Chief of Security in the Park Gabriel Genda said that the Park management conducted an operation in April which netted 60 guns, unearthing four gun factories.
Genda said that the park has been able to control poaching by 75 per cent while grazing of livestock in the park has been reduce to almost 99 per cent
Meanwhile, the number of tourists visiting the Saadani National Park based in both Tanga and Coast Region has increased by almost 20 per cent from 3,758 in 2005 to 22,942 in 2017/18 since the park was upgraded to full national park status.
Reports here indicate that the Park has made a number of achievements that include increased visitors leading to increased revenue.
However, according to the report the majority of people visiting the park are domestic tourists to make it the only national park whose visitors are mostly local tourists.
The park still has opportunities of increasing the number of local and foreign tourists due to its location, according to the report.
“The park is located in the middle of a triangle of big urban areas, Tanga, Zanzibar and Bagamoyo which are frequented by the tourists. We have to use every means to draw them to Saadani,” the report has said.
Authorities reported that the Park Management has already met with the Zanzibar Tourism Commission (ZTC) to discuss ways of using the opportunity in Zanzibar to attract tourists to Saadani.