Conservationists blamed the Tanzanian authorities for not controlling ivory poaching and trafficking.
“There’s an enormous slaughter of elephants going on in Tanzania right now. Things are out of hand,” veteran conservationist Iain Douglas-Hamilton said .
“There’s no protection in numbers for elephants any more than there was for bison in the last century when they were all wiped out in America. So people shouldn’t kid themselves,” he said.
Tanzania, which had between 70,000 and 80,000 elephants in 2009, is thought to have nearly one-quarter of all African elephants. Yet Tanzanian parliamentarian Peter Msigwa said the week before last that poaching was “out of control,” with an average of 30 elephants being slaughtered for their ivory every day.
“At the end of the year, you’re talking about 10,000 elephants killed,” said James Lembeli, chairman of the Tanzanian Natural Resources and Environment Committee. “Move around this country where you have populations of elephants and [you see] carcasses everywhere.”
Last year, Tanzanian police seized more than 1,000 elephant tusks hidden in sacks of dried fish at the port of Zanzibar.