SATURDAY November 11, 2023
By Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania
A hefty punishment meted out to a chronic poacher has impressed conservationists and tourism players in Manyara Region, Tanzania.
The poacher, Amos Mtinange, was recently convicted of killing wildlife animals, particularly giraffes, in a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and hawking bush meat at $2 per kilogram.
The WMA dubbed Burunge manned by local authorities is sandwiched by two national parks overseen by the state-owned conservation and tourism agency, namely Tanzania National Parks.
Conservationists Lazaro Peter hails the ruling hoping it will bring the vice to an end, regretting that illegal giraffes hunting and sale of bush meat had grown in the area.
Clever Zulu, an investor in the area and Chem Chem Association Manager, commended game rangers for successfully arresting the convict.
“The population of giraffes has risen in Burunge WMA lately, making it easier for poachers to hunt them and sell the bush meat. Mtinange was one of them,” Zulu says
Before the arrest, he explains, Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) had carried out a special training to game rangers and police officers in investigating and arresting poachers.
“The training has paid off at last,” says Zulu, as he vowd to continue supporting the anti-poaching drive in Burunge WMA. His association has been coughing up $161,943 each year in support of the drive.
Resident Magistrate’s Court in the region recently sentenced Mtinange to a 23-year imprisonment, believing the punishment will deter other criminals surrounding the WMA from engaging in the vice.
Resident Magistrate Victor Kimario said the court had found Mtinange guilty of the offences, as exhibits he was caught with showed he engaged in the vice.
This is despite Mtinange pleading with the court to consider imposing a lenient punishment on him, given his responsibilities for his family.
The prosecution side led by state attorneys Benedict Mapunda and Getrude Kariongi as well as Shahidu Kajwagya from TAWA argued before the court saying Mtinange deserved a heavy punishment for sabotaging the economy.
Kariongi explainrd that Mtinange had been killing giraffes for quite a long time before he was arrested.
“Giraffes are a popular tourist attraction fetching the national coffers foreign currency,” said Kariongi, stressing that the vice retarded the government’s efforts to provide social services ranging from education to healthcare, water and roads.
Mtinange was arrested on April 21, 2022, within the Burunge WMA situated at Vilima Vitatu Village in Babati District, Manyara Region, following a lengthy manhunt involving game rangers from the area, Chem Chem Association and the PoliceΩ