Tanzania lifts ban on wildlife exports

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Tanzania is temporarily rolling back a ban on wildlife exports that was in force for six years to safeguard protected animals and birds in the east African nation, the wildlife service said.

The decision to lift the ban for an initial six months saw conservationists appeal for monitoring processes to guard against poaching, which has been in decline.

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“The government has been assessing the business of exporting live wild animals since the ban was imposed and now it has lifted the ban,” Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority said in a statement late Friday.

Traders will have six months from June 6 to December 5 to “clear stocks of animals” that they were unable to sell under the ban, it added.

Tanzania imposed the ban in 2016 under the authoritarian rule of then president John Magufuli, whose uncompromising leadership style saw him nicknamed “the Bulldozer.”

The government at the time justified the ban because of “irregularities” in trade, including the shipment of protected animals abroad.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has sought to break with some of Magufuli’s policies since she came to power last year following his sudden death.

Conservation group WWF cautioned that easing the ban should not undo gains made in protecting wildlife, such as triggering poaching which has been on a decline.

“Proper monitoring mechanisms and data are needed to back such kinds of decisions,” WWF country director Amani Ngusaru told AFP.

Tanzania is famed for its sandy beach archipelago of Zanzibar, wildlife safaris and Mount Kilimanjaro which are a lucrative draw for tourists.

In 2010, at least 116 animals and 16 birds, some of them protected species, were illegally exported from Kilimanjaro airport in the north of the country aboard a Qatari plane.

They included at least four giraffes, several different types of antelope, hornbills and vultures, according to local media.

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