Elephants and rhinos are two of the most poached animals in the world, both of which have been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable and endangered, respectively.
In Tanzania, however, both of their population have been growing significantly thanks to the tireless efforts by the Tanzanian government and the anti-poaching task force.
From elephant’s population of 43,330 in 2014, the Tanzanian government said it have increased to more than 60,000, while rhinos increased from 15 in 2015 to 167 now.
“As a result of the work of a special task force launched in 2016 to fight wildlife poaching, elephant populations have increased from 43,330 in 2014 to over 60,000 presently,” the government said in a statement according to Sky News.
Illegal wildlife poachers often poach elephants for their ivory tusks, which were to be made into jewelry and décor, while rhinos for their horns, typically used for traditional Chinese medicine.
Though this seems to be great news for wildlife conservationists, Mark Jones, leader of the international wildlife foundation, Born Free Foundation, said there is still much work to be done to protect the animals.
“This sounds like very good news but we should view these figures with caution until there’s independent verification – there’s no way that has occurred through breeding and protection alone,” Jones told The Independent in an interview. “[Rhinos] mature late, have long gestation periods and don’t produce many young. Both species take a long time biologically to reproduce. Elephants are intelligent – they move across national borders to where they are safer, so if there’s been a clampdown on poaching Tanzania, it may be that some have moved in.”
This news still gives others some hope, after Botswana lifted its elephant hunting ban earlier this year.
– Hundreds of elephants are poached each year in Botswana and is expected to increase after hunting ban has been lifted
– Fearful of elephant attacks, some in Botswana cheer hunting’s return
– Elephant hunting ban is lifted in Botswana