Thursday, 24 January 2013


Last week world wide media reports focussed on the sinister slaughter of twelve elephants inside a Kenyan game reserve. On Monday, the Kenyan government announced that the anti-poaching lobby is now a matter of national security. These events and killings, a Kenyan spokesman was quoted telling CNN, are not restricted to animals.  Rangers are being murdered too. Ruthless poachers are keen “to fuel appetites of Asian clients especially in Thailand and China.”
Most East African readers have certainly heard about this. What matters, however, are reactions and what should be done.

Is there any need for the average African living in this so- called wild continent to be concerned that animals are being for pesa? Aren’t we supposed to love meat? Wild meat is especially more delicious than domesticated cows, goats, chicken etc. One guinea fowl (“Kanga” in Swahili)-which I find tastier than chicken or duck- costs around 10,000 T-shillings in a London supermarket, for example.
I am being sarcastic of course.
Slaughtered elephants, pic by Michael Nichols courtsey of Advocate Habitat Blog...

There are two strands here.
One. An assumption that we live among freely available meat. No wonder the debate about Serengeti being turned into a free farm has been so controversial in the past few years. Two.  That these poachers belong to the same tribe of gangsters robbing everyone including sad mourners driving to funerals.  We live in horrifying times where the “name of the game” is ruthlessness and immorality.
Poachers will therefore, kill animals preserved to be ogled by tourists, as well as you and me. That is not only ruining wild life preservation, but also sending signals about the realities of the international trade system. Find and sell anything to survive. So then, what are we going to do about it?
We have an early example in a crusader called, Kidon Mkuu Ngoille.
Ngoille outside a Manyata hut in the Maasai area of Arusha. 

Born in Loliondo in 1965, Ngoille studied in Arusha, Nanyuki (Kenya) then went to Sweden and Norway where he completed his political science degree. While still studying he was touched by how overseas citizens are concerned about the welfare of animals. This came about in his involvement in various campaigns to protect natural wildlife. Kidon says he was impressed how hunters of certain wild beasts such as deer, elk and rend were regulated by specific government laws. He also noticed that not many European people were fond of wearing animal fur made from bears, foxes and wild cats.
Since settling in Arusha recently, Kidon Ngoille set up a charity - “Sema Ndiyo Kuwalinda Faru na Tembo” (“Say Yes to Preserve Rhinos and Elephants”) –aimed at raising awareness and funds. These funds the Loliondo born campaigner insists, shall be used to assist NGO’s, buy T-shirts, stickers, brochures and literature crucial for this venture.

Why such a futile campaign, I asked Mr Ngoille? After all we have existing government bodies that deal with the issue. Tanzania, believe it or not, has an excellent history of fighting poachers. During Ujamaa days- poachers were hunted down and severely punished.  He says, currently,   within our institutions there are good guys keen to deal with the crisis, as well, as bad guys who aren’t that bothered. “We all have to do this together.”
It is well said from the top, I argued.
What about notions which I raised at the beginning of this article?  The average African sees wild animals as free range meat and a sight -seeing object catering for Wazungu tourists bringing cash for wildlife businessmen. Of which he replied: “We all belong to this world. We humans are more intelligent than animals so we should not destroy the nature that we found when we came here.”
But there is a more sinister problem.
 A subject that was a theme of a National Geographic channel program a couple of months ago. In “Man Vs Monster”, British film maker and adventurer, Richard Terry, travels across Tanzania searching for a werewolf: supposedly half hyena, half man which is terrorising villagers in River Rufiji, Uru (Kilimanjaro), Lake Eyasi, etc. Terry is told by peasants that the super creature has relations with devils and genies.  The Briton eventually discovers it is nothing else but lions resorting to humans because of food scarcity.  Kidon Ngoille argues that we need more security from authorities around our remote villages.
Our beautiful earth. Sunset at Lake Tanganyika. Pic by Revo Meza..

His is a positive suggestion of what should be done, i.e. joining this battle across East Africa. The preservation of our natural environment is not just about trees (helping regulate climate), waters (oceans, lakes, rivers and fish), minerals (gold, diamonds etc), keeping cities tidy and un polluted. It is also about caring for all living species. Every resource is a part of mother earth and justifiably, beneficial in all kinds of ways.
Interested? Contact Mr Ngoille on Tel +255-755-001-123.
-Also published in Citizen Tanzania...on Friday 18th,  January, 2013.

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