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REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MOHAMMED GHARIB BILAL

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MOHAMMED GHARIB BILAL  VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, AT  THE  GALA  DINNER  ORGANIZED  BY  THE  WILDLIFE
CONSERVATION  FOUNDATION  OF  TANZANIA  HELD  AT THE MOVENPICK HOTEL ON 15TH APRIL, 2011



 

Your Excellency Former President Benjamin William Mkapa, Patron of the Foundation

Honorable Mama Anna Mkapa

Hon. Ezekiel Maige (MP), Minister for Natural Resources
  and Tourism,

Mr. Jacques Servais, Representative of His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince of Austria-Este,

Treasurer of WCFT,

Mr. Gerald Pasanisi, Executive President of the Wildlife
  Conservation Foundation of Tanzania,

Mr. George Kahama Vice President 
  of Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is an honour and privilege to be with you here this evening.  To Jacques, thank you so much for the brilliant address by His Highness Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este and his generosity towards Tanzania.  His remarks on the need for continued joint effort with the government on wildlife conservation are welcome indeed.

His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania was very much wanted to attend this fund raising dinner, but due to other commitments he could not make it may I covey his regret to you all but he wishes it every success.  I apologize on his behalf.

Let me therefore, thank you all for funding time this evening to join us in this fund raising dinner to support anti-poaching activities and wildlife conservation in Tanzania.  Tonight, this gala dinner marks yet another milestone in the life of this Foundation, and indeed in our efforts to protect wildlife which is essential to preserve our unique natural resources, for future generations.  As you all know, we support WCFT initiative because wildlife is an important resource for the social and economic wellbeing of Tanzanians, and indeed the citizens of the world.  It provides gainful employment for many of our citizens and it is also one of the major sources of foreign exchange earnings for our country.  Hunting and forestry contributes 2 to 3 percent of our GDP.  Over and above economic benefits, wildlife has intrinsic environmental value for our communities.

Approximately 38% of our country’s land area is designated for wildlife conservation.  We are committed to maintain the size of the wildlife protected areas while realizing that the existence of a sizeable wild animal population is a good indicator of a healthy and sustainable biodiversity in our environment.  We are proud of our abundant flora and fauna.  We have 364 species of mammals and 1108 species of birds, and we are committed to preserving this rich and rare endowment for the generation to come. 

In this regard, investing in conservation and protection of our wildlife is for our common good.  I, therefore, call for more people in various settings and backgrounds, emulate WCFT in supporting conservation of wildlife resource, for we know that in one way or another, we are key beneficiaries of the resource.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since we met last time in 2008, our reservoir of wildlife has been under increasing threat.  The gravity of criminal acts in our game reserves has increased. These criminal behaviors are unacceptable.  Apart from compromising the safety of our wildlife, they deter potential tourists.  Some world reknown researchers have predicted that with the current rate of criminal act in game reserves, if our elephants are not protected from greedy poachers, they will be declared extinct within 10 years.  Indeed, this is a stark reminder of the enormity of work before all of us.  His Highness Archduke Lorenz has rightly reminded us of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s words of wisdom when he said that we all have a moral duty to protect the resources that occur in Tanzania.  We must do everything in our power to make sure that our children’s grand children will be able to enjoy our rich heritage.  These words are more relevant today than they were yesterday.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The survival of our wildlife is a matter of great concern to all of us.  Let me assure you tonight that the government is committed to do all we can to protect our wildlife.  We are going to embark on a major and long-term crackdown against poachers in the national parks and game reserves.  Should the need be, we are prepared to use all the means at our disposal to conduct special operations to protect our wildlife in designated national parks and game reserves.  We are also intending to use the latest technology in combating poachers as well as introducing stiffer laws with higher fines land longer prison terms for convicted poachers.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Despite our commitment to protect wildlife, it is however a daunting task to achieve effective management in these vast areas using government resources alone due to competing priorities.

We need extra resources to facilitate supervision and protection of the 230,000 square kilometers dedicated to conservation.  In view of the situation, the Government has embarked on a move to review its wildlife institutional setting, with the aim of establishing an autonomous Wildlife authority, which will take up the mandate of managing wildlife in all areas outside National Parks and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. 

We believe that this strategy will improve issues pertaining to financial constraints, including aspects of fast decision making.

To complement our efforts, we welcome and fully support any helping hand to ensure wildlife protection.  We are very grateful for the support given so far by our partners in Wildlife Conservation, the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of Tanzania.  I am informed that through their generous programme, 15 Land cruisers for the anti-poaching squad’s operations have been procured.  We hope that more contributions will made or pledged tonight to enable them to continue with their noble cause of protecting the world’s heritage within our borders.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It will be a remiss of me if I will end my speech without saying anything about hunting games, an area dear to some of friends present here tonight.  My government will continue to support responsible hunting that respects and upholds the cardinal tenets of wildlife conservation.  I am pleased that most of you are engaged in trophy hunting which requires hunters to observe high self-imposed limitations. 

I am glad that you have seen the need for hunting companies to support the infrastructure that could be used by anti-poaching staff to speed up the process of tracking poachers area gathered here tonight to synergise our efforts for a noble cause in wildlife conservation and sustainable development.

It is now my singular honour to humbly appeal and call upon each and every one in attendance to join hands with the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of Tanzania in this noble Endeavour.  I would now like to kindly invite you to make your donations.
Thank you all for your kind attention.


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