Commend Research Protecting Wildlife Against Illegal Poaching in Africa

Target: Wildlife researchers Stella Bitanyi and Eblate Ernest Mjingo

Goal: Thank these researchers for their tremendous efforts in protecting wildlife in Tanzania.

Illegal poaching in Serengeti still poses a threat to wildlife populations. Recent doctoral field research studies conducted by Stella Bitanyi and her colleague Eblate Ernest Mjingo, research scientists from Oslo, Norway, have linked poverty and illegal hunting, resulting in overexploitation and possible extinction of wild herbivores. Fortunately, Stella and Eblate have developed molecular genetic methods of identifying certain species in Tanzania in order to monitor and protect wildlife from poachers illegally hunting for bushmeat (meat from wild animals killed for commercial purposes, predominantly at unsustainable levels).

Regulations and laws against illegal poaching are well established, particularly on wildlife reserve areas. However, bushmeat has been difficult to control due to its accessibility and the nutritional needs of the people habiting the region. A team of researchers conducted a study, led by Stella, surveying the residents and villagers of western Serengeti. Results showed that a great majority who were surveyed were knowledgeable of the potential damage illegal hunting would present to their community but admitted to poaching regardless, because of its high yielding benefit with a low risk of arrest and prosecution. Disease, floods, food shortage, or other existing hardships are also some catalysts which drive poaching in restricted areas.

With animals in high demand, these genetic methods can be used as tools in identifying herbivore species that would be considered desirable bushmeat as well as to gather essential evidence in crimes against wildlife. Another method created is using “microsatellites” to map the genetic structure of ecosystems to better understand how human activity is effecting these populations.

Tanzania is one of the few countries containing a diverse wildlife species. Sustainability and the further development of population infrastructure are posing the greatest challenge but with dedicated researchers like these and a commitment to conservation, poaching will decline, no longer posing a threat. Thank Stella Bitanyi and Eblate Ernest Mjingo for their continued efforts in studying and protecting wildlife.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Stella Bitanyi and Eblate Ernest Mjingo,

I commend your research to monitor and protect wildlife living in Serengeti. As human population increases in these regions, poverty is on the rise which creates a struggle to meet nutritional needs. Even with regulations in place, illegal hunting and poaching are still proving difficult to curb.

Thankfully, the molecular genetic methods you developed will be highly beneficial, aiding in conservation efforts. By mapping the genetics of certain wild herbivore, migratory patterns will be observed in order to understand the effects of increased human activity among the reserved areas. This will help maintain a sustainable future for Tanzania species as well as protect these animals from crimes against them.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: BrianScott via Flickr

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  1. Poachers must be stopped… by ANY MEANS POSSIBLE!!

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