Poaching in Tanzania is threatening to undermine the East African nation’s growing tourism economy, one otherwise poised to add hundreds of thousands of jobs in the coming years.
Adelham Meru, Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, warns that poaching could affect as many as 3.8 million tourism jobs across Africa, including guides, drivers, and hotel and restaurant staff.
Tanzania, like many African nations, has been hard hit by poaching over the past decade. Last year a survey revealed that the country had lost more than half its elephants, with populations declining from 110,000 in 2009 to fewer than 44,000. Tanzania's iconic giraffes, the country's national symbol, have also suffered, as has much of its other wildlife.
While poachers are profiting from these beloved species, tourism could suffer. Meru said Tanzania has 700,000 tourism-related jobs and predicts that number could double, but only if "the ongoing rampant killings of wildlife" stops. "If the current situation will remain unattended, these jobs would vanish in air," he said[.]
Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa, internationally known from his leading roles in Furious 7 and Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, is giving a sneak preview of his new role as Thailand's first ambassador for the Ivory Free campaign, a joint venture between WildAid and our conservation partners.
International passengers arriving at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport can catch Jaa’s #IvoryFree billboard at Concourse C, alongside fellow WildAid ambassadors Prince William, David Beckham and Yao Ming.
Jaa grew up in Thailand’s northeastern province of Surin, where his family raised elephants. He is urging locals and tourists alike not to buy ivory, as it's illegal to transport any ivory products, even small pieces, out of Thailand.
The following is WildAid's official statement on AB 96, a bill that would strengthen California's ban on ivory that was introduced on January 8, 2015:
The bill introduced today by California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would close loopholes that have made it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to enforce California's 40-year-old ban on ivory.
For decades, criminals have used the legal trade of ivory imported prior to 1977 in order to launder illegal ivory from Africa, where 33,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year. With the passage of this bill, California would join New York and New Jersey in closing this loophole and adopting stiffer criminal and civil penalties on the sale of ivory.
WildAid supports AB 96 and encourages California's legislature to join us in our fight to save Africa's remaining elephants before it's too late.
WildAid is calling on the public to do its part to end the ivory poaching crisis by taking the Ivory Free pledge at ivoryfree.org. The new campaign asks consumers to pledge to never buy, own or accept ivory as gifts, and to support stronger government bans and actions to tackle the illegal ivory trade.
33,000 African elephants are killed per year for their ivory. The elephant populations of West and Central Africa have been devastated, herds have been targeted in East Africa and the crisis is spreading south.