Anti-poaching, Community Development, Research & GIS Mapping – Tanzania

Latest

Uvinza Team Update

The Uvinza team, led by the confident patrol commander Joseph Kimaro, has continued to have a major impact in the Uvinza Open Area.

A black powder muzzleloader used in a poaching incident that was confiscated by the Uvinza team. The bicycles in the background were used by the poachers to travel the long distance into the game reserve.

Some of the highlights from their progress to-date this year:

  • Through good intelligence, the Uvinza team located a notorious muzzle loader production factory in Asante Nyerere village. This resulted in two highly successful arrests, the confiscation of six muzzle loaders and all the tools of the trade, as well as the closure of the factory.
  • In a combined operation with the police in Tanzania, the Uvinza team confiscated 21.5 kg of ivory on-route to the Burundian border by acting on intelligence they personally gathered. A notorious ivory dealer was arrested in the process.
  • Operations have resulted in a total of nine firearms being confiscated, including automatic weapons.  In addition, a total of 412 arrests have been made, including meat/ivory poachers.

Bush meat confiscated during an arrest. The meat is smoked on racks suspended over a fire to preserve the meat prior to being transported out and sold in the markets.

As it is always our policy to protect and develop the FCF rangers, FCF recently implemented an internal rotation program that enables the rangers to rotate through all the FCF teams in order to strengthen their performance across operational areas. This has resulted in Willbroad Sikay and Kirabasta Gidafrey joining the Uvinza team and replacing the very capable Baraka Gunje and Juma Shabani who have taken their knowledge and strengths to other FCF operational areas.

Hardwood timber destined for India or China that was confiscated by the Uvinza team. This illegal activity is having a serious impact on the loss of biodiversity in the area.

Confiscated hardwood timber that has been piled and then burned to prevent it from being sold back into the system.

Microlight Update

Keith Roberts joined Doug Braum and Boniphace Haule in Maswa recently for some important anti-poaching operations. Boni’s training as our microlight pilot, under Doug’s expert tutelage, is progressing very well. Boni is now sitting at 204.2 hours, of which 101.6 hours is in the front seat, a remarkable achievement in extremely trying flying conditions.  Over the course of the past year, FCF has recorded over 24,000km of flying. As one can imagine, this brings quite a bit of wear and tear to the microlight which makes the pilots’ ability to service and carry out essential maintenance in the bush critical to the program’s ongoing success.

Snares recovered from a snare line sighted from the microlight

Pilots not only have to know how to fly but also need to possess the skills to carry out essential engine and frame maintenance on the microlights. Additionally, FCF’s pilots fly many more hours than most other conservation groups under extremely hard weather conditions, hence the wear and tear on the planes. Both Doug and Boni are trained in maintenance procedures for the microlights, which is rare since most pilots do not have the ability or need to conduct maintenance and service overhauls. With these skills, living in a remote and dangerous area, and commanding anti-poaching operations, these guys are a rare breed!

Poaching camp being destroyed after ground teams were talked into the camp by the pilot from the microlight circling above.

The microlight provides a unique aerial platform that makes it a valuable asset to conservation management. However, for the microlight to be an efficient conservation tool, the pilots must have an excellent understanding of both wildlife management and anti-poaching. Doug and Boni communicate what they have observed from the air (i.e. poacher camps, snare lines, wildlife concentrations, etc.) to the ground teams and game reserve management, and offer advice on how best to achieve the anti-poaching objectives (i.e., arresting  poachers, removing threats to wildlife, etc).

The pilots bush base- tent (home) and the hanger

The effectiveness of their hard-working team is very apparent by the results achieved when they are in an area. Doug and Boni, for all of your hard work and dedication to conservation, we salute you!

Anti-poaching training is underway

Ken Oesterreich, Defensive Tactics & Close Combat Instructor, arrived in Tanzania from Germany on June 5th and the first group of 20 FCF and Mwiba rangers started their training the following day. Ken is pleased with the progress to date of the rangers that have previously trained under him. The FCF/Mwiba rangers, being unarmed, have to be highly trained and proficient in defense tactics, control and restraint in order to stay safe. These men face a very high risk when conducting anti poaching operations, but this training provides essential skills in the fight against the poachers. Each group receives 24 hours of instruction spread over three days before re-deploying to the field. Keep up the good work team!