Time’s up: wildlife trafficking through Tanzania’s ports

In recent years, ports in Tanzania have come under increased scrutiny given their vulnerability to the illegal wildlife trade. Last year, 57 representatives from port stakeholder groups in the area met to discuss possible solutions to the problem. ABI MILLAR asks why this crime has been allowed to proliferate in the area and what can be done to tackle it.

The port city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. Handling around 95% of the country’s international trade, it is a key port on China’s ‘Maritime Silk Road’ and Tanzania’s main arrival and departure point for tourists. Every year, over a million people arrive in the city, many of them going on to enjoy a safari in one of the country’s 16 national parks.

Unfortunately, the port’s commercial clout makes it vulnerable. Along with other ports throughout the region, Dar es Salaam is on the frontlines of the illegal wildlife trade. Between 2009 and 2015, over 10,000 unique pieces of ivory were seized at Tanzanian seaports. Other items seized have included leopard skins, shark fins, rhino horn and pangolin scales.

“The increasing demand for wildlife products from the East has fuelled the poaching of African wildlife,” says TRAFFIC senior programme officer Monica Zavagli. “The strategic location of the Port of Dar es Salaam and, to a lesser extent, the Port of Zanzibar, provides traffickers with access to international trade routes and markets as well as the container shipping industry.”

Read the rest of this article in the May 2020 edition of Ship Technology Global

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