DAR ES SALAAM, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- More than 17,000 snares used by poachers to kill wildlife in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park have been seized during a de-snaring program that started in April 2017, an official said on Tuesday.
The program, the only undertaking of its kind in the Serengeti National Park, was supported by a handful of tour operators and stakeholders with a vested interest in protecting the Serengeti's spectacular wildlife, working together with Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).
Erik Winberg, FZS Project Manager, Serengeti Conservation Program, said the de-snaring teams consisted of eight former poachers who have been recruited from the villages in the Serengeti ecosystem for their expertise in snaring and TANAPA game rangers who works closely with the Serengeti National Park authorities to collect snares before they do harm.
Winberg told Xinhua in an interview that so far the impact of the de-snaring program is impressive.
"We have so far seized 17,536 snares, 32 poachers have been arrested, 125 poacher camps were found, 530 animals were found dead and 175 animals were released alive," added Winberg.
Winberg said the arrested poachers were handed over to TANAPA's law enforcement unit for prosecution according to the Tanzania law.
He said most of the trapped and killed animals were the wildebeest, adding that the poachers were mainly locals who put the snares for bush meat.
In 2017, several local tour operators and other tourism stakeholders joined forces with a single goal of protecting Serengeti's spectacular wildlife by donating money from their businesses.
Together with TANAPA and the FZS, they were now working to remove snares and deter poaching around the park while offering an alternative livelihood to ex-poachers.