Tanzania Denies Claims Of Wildlife Smuggling To Middle East
John Ikani, The Heritage Times
September 12, 2023
The regulator responsible for Tanzania’s airports has firmly denied
allegations of wildlife smuggling from a park in the northern region to
Middle East nations.
Reports circulating on social media suggested that wild animals were being
illicitly transported via cargo planes from Loliondo, situated near the
renowned Serengeti National Park, to the United Arab Emirates.
The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) has categorically refuted
these claims, describing them as “completely false.” The TCAA pointed out
that Loliondo Airport was not an authorized entry or exit point for such
Claims surfaced about a plane carrying wildlife on August 26, but the TCAA
contested this, stating that the last flight to Loliondo occurred on July
According to TCAA, Loliondo Airport serves as a regular cargo facility, not
a conduit for wildlife trafficking.
In a formal statement, TCAA underscored its robust real-time monitoring
system, highlighting that all international flights are strictly channelled
through designated entry and exit points like Kilimanjaro International
Airport (KIA), Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), and Aman Abeid
Karume International Airport (AAKIA).
The authority firmly asserted that the reports aimed to tarnish the
nation’s reputation and urged Tanzanians to disregard them.
What You Should Know
Wildlife trafficking is a serious problem in Tanzania, and it is estimated
that the illegal wildlife trade generates between $5 billion and $23
billion in revenue every year.
The most commonly trafficked animals in Tanzania are elephants, rhinos,
lions, leopards, and pangolins. These animals are poached for their ivory,
horns, and scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine,
jewellery, and other decorative items.
Tanzania’s seaports, especially Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, are highly
vulnerable to wildlife trafficking. These ports are major transit points
for goods and people, and they are also relatively easy to smuggle wildlife
through. In 2009-2015, more than 23 tonnes of ivory were seized at or
originated from Tanzanian seaports.
The Tanzanian government has taken some steps to combat wildlife
trafficking, but the problem remains serious. In 2017, the government
established the Wildlife Trafficking Prevention and Control Authority
(WTPCA), which is responsible for coordinating the country’s
anti-trafficking efforts. The WTPCA has also worked to strengthen law
enforcement and increase public awareness of the issue.
Despite these efforts, wildlife trafficking remains a major problem in
Tanzania. There are a number of challenges to combating the problem,
including corruption, weak law enforcement, and high demand for wildlife
products in Asia. However, the Tanzanian government and conservation
organizations are working to address these challenges and protect the