Tanzania to kill poachers on spot

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Tanzania on Friday announced that from now on all poachers arrested in its national parks and game reserves will be shot promptly right there in the jungle, ordering wildlife rangers to execute the directive immediately.

"There will be no forgiveness when it comes to cases of poachers terrorizing innocent wildlife like elephants, rhinos and other species in this country," Tanzania's Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Khamis Kagasheki said, adding there will be no need for poachers to take them to court.

The minister was speaking at the climax of the global Elephant March, which was held in 15 countries worldwide and in Tanzania the 3 km mass walk was held in its northern safari capital of Arusha.

He warned all perpetuators of poaching and those involving in illegal hunting to pack their weapons and find a legal business "as anyone who would be caught in the parks for whatever reasons will be shot dead on the spot."

Kagasheki, who seemed to be furious with the poaching incidents in the country, which is very rich in wildlife, warned that illegal hunters gunning for elephant tusks have wealthy international barons backing their rackets thus well equipped with advanced weaponry and usually can afford all legal assistance.

The head of Tanzania's wildlife watchdog said human rights issues doesn't count on the matter and Tanzania will not listen to anyone when it comes to implementing the order.

"I am very aware that some alleged human rights activists will make an uproar, claiming that poachers have as much rights to be tried in courts as the next person, but let's face it, poachers not only kill wildlife but also usually never hesitate to shoot dead any innocent person standing in their way," Kagasheki said.

"That is why you always hear that, court cases against poachers take very long and sometimes the culprits get acquitted and the only way to solve this problem is to execute the killers on spot," he said. "A survey will soon be launched to find out for real how many elephants get killed here annually because available figures range between 30 and 70 jumbos per day."

The Elephant March was organized by the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) in conjunction with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) through their 'i-worry' campaign. In the single largest demonstration of awareness for the species, the maiden Elephant March took place in Arusha, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Edinburgh, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Munich, New York City, Rome, Toronto, Washington D.C. and Wellington.

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