Meet saviour of Tanzania Elephants.
I was born in 1986, Songea Ruvuma, Southern Tanzania in a family of five children, two boys and three sisters. My father was working in a government as community development officer in Ruvuma region. Since I was a kid I had great passion for the animals and we used to keep pets at home. To date, I am with my brother, Sister and mother having lost my elder sister, my twin sister and my father.
My career started in Development Studies at the Institute of Rural Development Planning but I have happened to volunteer my time and skills working in a conservation sector. In 2013 I started a campaign titled Me against Poaching where we had youths volunteers visiting schools and educating them on various conservation issues but also organizing tour to National parks.
As a young teenage, I never knew our wildlife faced such big threats and so I did not do anything in the beginning, with an increased access to the internet I had access to conservation news national and international and here is where I learned about how serious wildlife crime was a big crime.
As I am also a Musician I also recorded a song to fight poaching “Tupige Vita Ujangili” The song had numbers to report wildlife crime and was among the very first songs in the country to address the wildlife crime. It was played in various local radio stations and also used in Tourism and conservation events in schools etc.
I never thought Music could make such a great impact until when I received positive feedback from those who listened to my songs. In 2015 I and a group of other committed Tanzanians started another campaign titled OKOA Tembo wa Tanzania “Save Tanzania’s Elephants where we had three demands to the government. 1. Arresting and prosecuting the major ivory traders operating in the country. 2. Using Tanzania’s long-standing friendship with China to close Chinese ivory markets. 3. To publicly destroy Tanzania’s ivory stockpile.
With this campaign we wrote an open letter to the President Magufuli and asked him to take these measures. We were happy that in his first public address to the nation since being elected back in 2015 he addressed the issue of arresting ivory traders regardless of their position, nationality or status. Later on we were happy to see China announce and then enforce the ban to the Ivory markets.
Our open letter was signed by the popular conservation advocates including Prof Mutayoba the recipient of National Geographic Society Buffet Award.
With SAVE THE ELEPHANT campaign we wrote articles about conservation in the country’s most read newspapers, Appeared in Popular local TV Channels to discuss about conservation matters, we later formed the Parliamentary coalition for conservation and started conservation clubs in schools but also engaging Music as part of advocacy. Trained journalists on reporting wildlife issues and more community engagements events.
Poaching for ivory has decreased a lot in Tanzania and I think more efforts should be put for coexistence projects. Human Wildlife coexistence is an increasing challenge and needs to be addressed immediately before another wave of poaching for hatred start as revenge from communities losing crops. HEC Solutions like the beehive fencing, chilly fence tec should be put but also corridors should be made clear for people to be aware and not interfere.
But also poverty is a big problem that must be addressed when dealing with poaching issue. Alternative income generation activities should be employed so that people can never think of killing an animal for living.
Our countries must unite in fighting the wildlife crime. We are connected through the Kilimanjaro West with Amboseli, Serengeti with the Maasai Mara and therefore both, but also The Selous and the Niassa in Mozambique, there are scenarios where people poach on the Tanzania side and run to the Mozambique side, there must be combined efforts in tackling these challenges.
But also corruption must be fought with all the energy, it is the reason behind the increased trafficking but also weakness on low enforcement. All these start from corrupt systems.