Elephant and Rhino Populations Have Been Increased In Tanzania Thanks To Anti-Poaching Task Force

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Elephants and rhinos are internationally classified as vulnerable and endangered, respectfully — in Tanzania; however, both animals' populations are finally significantly rising.

Elephant and Rhino Populations Have Been Increased In Tanzania Thanks To Anti-Poaching Task Force

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Elephants and rhinos are internationally classified as vulnerable and endangered, respectfully — in Tanzania; however, both animals' populations are finally significantly rising. As the Tanzanian government reports, elephants have increased in population since 2014 from 43,330 to over 60,000, while rhinos have increased since 2015 from just 15 to 167.


"As a result of the work of a special task force launched in 2016 to fight wildlife poaching, elephant populations have increased from 43,330 in 2014 to over 60,000 presently," a statement from the country's government reads, as Sky News reports. As the outlet added, the 2015 census demonstrated that Tanzania's elephant population was at 110,000 in 2009, which means it decreased by more than half between 2009 and 2014, mainly due to wildlife poaching.


As per rhinos, the office of Tanzanian President John Magufuli claims that the rhino population was only 15 in 2015; according to The Independent, however, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species documented rhinos to have a population of 133 at the time. Either way, the country's rhino population is increasing slowly but steadily, as it is believed to be at 167 at the moment.


Therefore, what has accounted for this incredible rise in rhinos and elephants in Tanzania? According to the government statement, Tanzania formed a task force in 2016 to combat wildlife poaching, which is the illegal killing of wild animals. People usually poach elephants for their ivory tusks (used for jewelry and decor), and rhinos for their horns (used for Chinese medicine and as a status symbol, as per Save the Rhino). Poachers also use elephants' bodies for meat sometimes; furthermore, tourists go trophy hunting sometimes, which is when hunters cut off and display an animal's head on their wall.


As Al Jazeera reports, organized poaching networks in Tanzania brought elephant and rhino poaching to an industrial scale over the last few decades, which explains why the government had to double down on regulating the already illegal practice. One way the government did so was by arresting people heavily involved in the trade.



For instance, earlier in 2019, the Tanzanian government gave a 15-year jail sentence to the infamous Chinese ivory trafficker known as the "Ivory Queen," according to NPR. The Ivory Queen was a "key link" between poachers in East African countries (Tanzania included) and ivory purchasers in China for over ten years; and between 2000 and 2004 alone, she helped smuggle over 800 pieces of ivory between the two continents, NPR added.


Although the news of elephant and rhino populations rising seems exciting, Mark Jones, leader of the international wildlife foundation the Born Free Foundation, thinks that there's still much work to be done to protect elephants and rhinos in Tanzania.


Hopefully, rhino and elephant populations in Tanzania will continue to rise — also, hopefully, the Tanzanian government and conservation groups will soon have more data on how we can continue preserving these majestic creatures. "


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Thinking Humanity: Elephant and Rhino Populations Have Been Increased In Tanzania Thanks To Anti-Poaching Task Force
Elephant and Rhino Populations Have Been Increased In Tanzania Thanks To Anti-Poaching Task Force
Elephants and rhinos are internationally classified as vulnerable and endangered, respectfully — in Tanzania; however, both animals' populations are finally significantly rising.
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