There was news this month that had us all very excited at our little hotel in Arusha: A major break through in the war on ivory poaching. For many years the Tanzanian government has struggled to combat the killing of elephants, even in protected areas, solely for their ivory.
While the problem of poaching has always existed, the recent past has seen an escalation in elephant deaths that has all conservationists very worried for the elephant population in Tanzania. Restrictions have been enforced that has even impacted on our hotel, with strict no fly zones and restricted filming licenses making it difficult for hotels and other businesses around Tanzania to create effective adverts, while the cost of increased security has affected the entry fees for the national parks (not really by much for standards in the US or Europe, but there has been some shifts). Despite these efforts, poaching continued.
This month however there has been a major event in this struggle. The So-called “Queen of Ivory” A 66 year old Chinese national named Yang Feng Lan was arrested for ivory trafficking offences that stretch back to 2006. This is a huge deal as this arrest sends a message: that well connected, wealthy individuals are not above Tanzanian law anymore. In fact this may even be a pivotal event in the current push to weed out corruption within the bureaucracy of the customs service and other connected civil industries in Tanzania.
All of which is great news for our little hotel in Arusha. Closing off the demand and illegal supply of ivory means that elephants can repopulate, making for better chances of seeing an elephant on Safari in Tanzania (though in truth we’ve never had a problem finding groups of elephants with our tours, that’s the advantage of having the best guides!) and encouraging more guests to come and enjoy the relaxed family atmosphere of Safariland Cottages.
If you would like to read more about this news please click here.