TANZANIA (eTN) – As a sign of a give back gesture, Thailand the biggest trophy market in South East Asia will be supporting Tanzania to fight poaching of the African elephant and the black rhino, the most threatened mammal species in Africa.
Tanzanian minister for Natural Resources and Tourism said a deal has been signed where Thailand will help Tanzania to fight against poaching syndicates operating in Asia and the Far East.
Mr. Kagasheki said shortly before departure of Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who concluded her three official tour to Tanzania and where she signed four memoranda of understanding between the two nations among them, two focusing on National parks and Wildlife management.
He said an agreement on wildlife management and conservation, signed between the two countries, would enable the assistance from Thailand to Tanzania, in anti-poaching drive and speed up development in the tourism sector.
“The agreement is not binding but it is more on cooperation, where we will benefit on a number of issues including training,” Mr. Kagasheki said.
Despite support and technical assistance that Tanzania will get from Thailand on anti-poaching drive, the Bangkok remains a notorious market and transit route for bloody ivory from the African continent where elephants are facing great dangers of total extinction.
The Black African rhinoceros is on brink to extinction, though few remain and highly protected in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya.
Rhino horn is the most expensive wildlife product, in which a kilogram in East Asian markets fetches up to US$10,000 each. Thailand stands as the biggest black market for the bloody ivory from East Africa, while the rhino horn from the African rhinoceros is sold expensively in Bangkok.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) says the average cost per kilogram of an African rhino horn averaged at U$10,000 in past years. The average value of each horn was US$80,000 during the past twenty years.
Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong are such other notorious black markets for bloody ivory from the African elephants and the black rhino horn.
Reacting to Madam Shinawatra’s official tour to Tanzania and her daylong visit to Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania, the Tanzania Country Office of the World Wide Fund (WWF) jointly with its global network had released a statement to both Thailand and Tanzania, arguing the two countries to spearhead conservation of wildlife for mutual benefits of their people and ensuring sound management of natural resources.
The statement issued and signed by the WWF Country Director Bell
Aube Houinato shortly before official departure of Madam Shinawatra, said, the global nature conservation body recognizes, appreciates and congratulates the president of Tanzania Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Madam Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand upon signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Wildlife Conservation and Management between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania.
“In particular WWF recognizes and appreciates the president of Tanzania, Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, for his steadfast commitment in the fight against illegal wildlife trade in Tanzania and Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand for her recently announced intention to ban domestic ivory trade in Thailand at the opening of the Sixteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES),” it reads part of the statement.
“Your Excellences’ contributions form the basis for the protection and restoration of the country’s and indeed planet’s important species while also being saved from extinction,” WWF said.
The statement seen by eTurboNews, further noted that, it was heartening to see such South-South Cooperation and the resolve of respective governments, ministries, who are at the forefront in confronting this dangerous trade, in taking such decisive and exemplary action both on the supply and demand sides of this atrocious illegal trade.
“WWF and its partner conservation organizations support you in this endeavor,” concluded the statement.
Other than four cooperation documents, the Thai Prime Minister had signed, her official tour to Tanzania still remains somehow, confidential because the media was not well involved, neither a joint communiqué issued nor a joint press conference was organized.
But, wildlife conservation observers think the tour was partly pushed by the recent visit to Tanzania of the US president Barack Obama who openly declared the American position to combat crime on poaching of African fauna.
Other than signing the White House Presidential Executive Order that centered on protection of the African wildlife, Obama said his administration will put new energy and funds into fighting wildlife trafficking, describing it as an international crisis that continues to escalate.