In a move to recognize the role of the father of the nation in a conservation drive, local stakeholders have rescheduled their annual march for elephants and rhinos to coincide with Nyerere Day.
The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) has been organizing an international march for elephants and rhinos in Arusha to commemorate World Animal Day, which is globally marked on October 4 to highlight the escalating poaching crisis of elephants and rhinos.
“We have decided to hold our march for elephant and rhinos on October 14, 2014 in Arusha in honoring the contribution of the father of the nation, Mwalimu Nyerere, in conservation,” said the Chairman of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Willy Chambullo.
Way back in 1961, Nyerere made a maiden statement to a symposium on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in Modern African States (organized by CCTA/IUCN – Arusha), which is now known as the Arusha Manifesto.
He said: “The survival of our wildlife is a matter of grave concern to us all in Africa. These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a source of wonder and inspiration, but are an integral part of our natural resources and of our future livelihood and well-being.”
“In accepting the trusteeship of our wildlife, we solemnly declare that we will do everything in our power to make sure our children’s grandchildren will be able to enjoy this rich and precious inheritance,” Nyerere said.
Now, the Vice Chairman of TATO, Mr. Zukher Fazal, says as a result of this commitment, the world has put the country on a list of progressive countries that accord the highest legal protection of natural resources against unsustainable economic development needs.
“Charity begins at home. Let’s remember the father of the nation by actions. This is why we want the march for elephant to coincide with Nyerere Day,” Mr. Fazal said.
He added that this year’s march would be presided over by the Arusha Regional Commissioner, Mr. Magesa Mulongo.
Billed as one of the effective tools to raise the public’s awareness on the importance of conservation in real life, the event is co-hosted by TATO in collaboration with the government and has also been a key platform for public and private sectors to brainstorm on conservation issues.
Normally, Tanzania’s conservation champions join millions of their colleagues across the world on October 4 to march as one voice to save wild animals from extinction – this year with the theme of elephants and rhinos.
More than 35,000 elephants are being killed every year so their tusks can be carved into ivory trinkets. A rhino is slaughtered once every 9-11 hours for its horn at the continental level.
Their only hope for survival lies in an immediate end to the ivory and rhino horn trade – both “legal” and “illegal” – and the chance to recover from decades of mass slaughter.
TATO’s role goes a long way to create awareness and internal pressure to the countries, which are destined markets, particularly those with emerging economies in the Far East.
Growing at a steady rate for the past two years, Tanzania tourism is booming with the latest data confirming the industry as Tanzania’s top foreign currency earner and export sector, outshining gold.
Fresh figures from the Central Bank indicate that tourism brought in $1.973 billion during the year that ended June 2014, up from $1.757 billion earned in the previous corresponding year.
Recent statistics show that earnings from the Tanzanian tourism industry increased from $200 million in 1993 to $1.88 billion in 2013.
The number of visitors also increased over the same period from 230,000 to a record one million.
The reported number of tourists who visited Tanzania in 2012, places the country on the map of leading African safari destinations with a million-plus visitors per year.
Other tourist-competitive African destinations rich with resources and which have a high record of tourists reaching a million or above are Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa.