Management and conservation of wildlife under local governments (district level) is questionable due to lack of gears to manage them in the authority they follow.
According to Tanzanian Wildlife Conservation Act, there are four agencies that are entrusted to manage wildlife in the country. These are Wildlife division that manage wildlife in Game Reserves, Tanzania National Park managing wildlife in National parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority that manage wildlife in Ngorongoro Conservation Area as well as Local Government Authorities that manages wildlife in Open Areas as well as in Game Controlled Areas.
The above three agencies are well equipped in term of human resources, vehicles as well as weapons to protect and manage the wildlife. This is not the case once it comes to local government authority whereby it is a tradition to find district with wildlife to manage but without enough human resources and other protective gears to be used to management purposes.
A good example is in Mkinga District in Tanga region whereby like other district in the country Mkinga manages Umba Game Controlled Area, the game area bordering Kenya. The district has two game officers who have been recently employed to exercise their duties. They are actually working in easier said than done environment as they do not have any game scouts nor any weapon or vehicles to manage wildlife they are entitled to.
This has resulted in number of human wildlife conflicts between the communities living adjacent to the Umba Game Controlled area and animals especially elephants. Elephants once invade the farms they usually raid crops to large extent as no one is chasing them away. The wildlife officers try in their level best to chase them but since they do not have any weapon nor game scouts their effort is always unfruitful.
As we are now in the hunting term, many hunters are now operating in Umba Game Controlled Area, but with no one to escort them. It has been a traditional in this Game Controlled Area where hunters hunt beyond their hunting quotas, hunting without following the principle of sustainable hunting as well as using weapon not recommended so as to easy hunt and catch the animals they want just because no one is there watching what they are doing. I think it won’t be wrong if at all we refer it as a legally poaching activity? It is a legally poaching because the way how is being conducted signifies it legality and its illegality at the same time.
As the new Wildlife Act number 5 of 2009 is in its implementation process, I argue to the government to find a way of incorporating this problem facing wildlife under local government authority so that they can be protected as those in other wildlife management agencies. Let the governments equip the local government authority in term of human resources as well as other resources including vehicles and weapons to better manage the wildlife they are supposed to manage for the national interest and not otherwise.