President Magufuli Celebrates the Arrest of Elephant Poachers on his Birthday…

….as European dogs take part of the credit for success in the anti-poaching drive in Tanzania.

By TZ Business News Staff.


It’s not the typical birthday story you hear often. Under normal circumstances, Saturday is a rest day—even if it’s not your birthday. President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania had a completely different idea on Saturday, 29 October, 2016.

President Magufuli clocked 57 years old on this week-end day. If he blew out candles at night we did not see.  Otherwise this Saturday was a normal working day for him according to information from State House.

The Chief Secretary  in the President’s office, John Kijazi reported  through  a video clip circulated on social media, and through a written statement  circulated to media by the State House Director of Communications, Gerson Msigwa,  that on this day of his birthday, the President revoked the appointment of the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Mr Diwani Athuman after a year and half in office. No reasons were given.

The President’s offce sent out another report later on this day, that the President  had paid a surprise visit at the Ministry of Toursim and Natural Resources, where he went to witness bags of ivory confiscated by a special taskforce formed to fight poarching in  Tanzania. The president congratulated the task force formed by the Ministry for the confiscation of the ivory and the arrests of those involved. A birthday packed with action indeed!

While at the Ministry, the President praised the task force for arresting a famous poacher named ‘Mpemba’ and ordered the continuation of arrests of other poachers after identification.The President  asked the task force to arrest anybody determined to be involved in poached without considering their leadership titles, age, tribal extraction or religious affiliation.

The State House communique on this event at the ministry said the president made the remarks during an impromptu visit.

During the visit, the President was shown 50 elephant tusks and motor vehicles which were seized between  Friday and Saturday here in Dar es Salaam. The elephant tusks were impounded by the ministry’s anti- poaching special unit. The task force was formed specifically to conduct operations against poaching. At least eight suspects have been arrested for allegedly being involved in the illegal activity.

The suspects were not identified on Saturday, except for one identified by the President as ‘Mpemba’.   The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources Major General Gaudence Milanzi, accompanied the President during the impromptu tour.

Success in the anti-poaching campaign in Tanzania is in the meantime being partly attributed to specialized ivory sniffing European dogs.  Two of the specially trained dogs  helped wildlife officials find tusks ‘within a minute’ as part of a project between Tanzanian authorities and Wildlife Conservation Society, the British Guardian newspaper has reported. Humans had failed to identify the ivory.

 Tanzanian officers with Jenny, left, a Belgian Malinois, and Dexter, an English springer spaniel. Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society

Tanzanian officers with Jenny, left, a Belgian Malinois, and Dexter, an English springer spaniel. Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society

A newly deployed team of specially trained dogs have helped authorities in Tanzania seize a haul of elephant tusks, with conservationists hoping the canine allies can help significantly slow rampant poaching in the country, the Guardian reports.

The dogs – Jenny, a Belgian Malinois, and Dexter, an English springer spaniel – discovered the four tusks at a property following a tipoff. A man was taken into custody over the ivory haul, which was initially missed by wildlife officials but found “within a minute” by Jenny’s keen nose.

The bust follows an 18-month training program that involved dogs being selected by Wagtail UK, a dog training school based in Wales, and flown to Tanzania’s largest national park, Ruaha. The dogs and their handlers have been trained to detect ivory and guns stowed away by poachers who have ravaged Tanzania’s elephant population in recent years.