File photo taken on Feb. 22, 2017 shows elephants at the Tsavo West National Park, near Voi, Kenya. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
ARUSHA, Tanzania, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has vowed to get tough measures with the groups and individuals responsible for the mass poaching of elephants.
Gaudence Milanzi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism called for stern actions against poachers and other people engaged in illegal wildlife trade in the east African nation.
He said poachers and other people engaged in illegal wildlife trade would be punished severely to deter would-be offenders.
"We're concerned that wildlife crimes such as poaching and illegal trade in ivory would pose serious threats to biodiversity, nature tourism, and foreign investment," Milanzi said in an interview.
Milanzi called upon villagers and local government to team up in the fight against elephant poaching, a move that threatens the future of tourism, which is one of leading sectors in Tanzania as it contributes 2 billion U.S dollars to GDP.
He also said that Tanzania has set aside September 22, every year as a special national day for elephants aimed at encouraging local people to take part in the fight against poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
Participants take part in the "walk for elephant" activity in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Jan. 14, 2017. Chinese Embassy in Tanzania organized a five km walk named "walk for elephant" in Dar es Salaam on Saturday to raise public awareness of elephant protection. (Xinhua/Li Sibo)
According to Milanzi, the idea has emanated from the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora.
This year's National Elephant Day was held in southern Tanzania's district of Namtumbo, which is close to Selous Game Reserve, and Niassa nature reserve in Cabo Delgado Province and Niassa Province, Mozambique.
It is estimated that Selous Game Reserve generates over 6 million U.S. dollars in annual revenues, which are distributed between the reserve, the national government, and more than 1.2 million people living in the surrounding area.