Please allow me to introduce myself… My name is ‘Sigifrid Edward Massawe’ I am a Grade 2 Wildlife Ranger with the Tanzanian Anti-poaching Wildlife Ranger Service. I was born and raised in the town of Moshi, in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. I went to the ‘College of African Wildlife Management’ where I was awarded a Diploma in wildlife management. I work full time as an anti-poaching Wildlife Ranger.
I am setting up this project (APPS, Anti-poaching Project, Selous) with my fellow Wildlife Rangers and work colleagues as a NGO (Non-Government Organisation) to try to raise additional funding so as to increase the amount of equipment the Wildlife Ranger Service has to use whilst out on patrol.
All of the equipment I am looking to fundraise for, will not just be used by myself; but spread around the whole of the Wildlife Ranger staff within the Selous Wildlife and Big Game Reserve in Tanzania.
This will allow all of the Wildlife Rangers to increase their individual effectiveness against the poaching of wildlife in Tanzania.
Selous wildlife and big game reserve is the biggest wildlife reserve and ‘conservation area’ in the continent of Africa.
Standing at 50,000 square kilometres, this reserve is among the biggest protected areas on the whole planet and covers approximately 5 regions of Tanzania including: Lindi, Morogoro, The coastal regions, Mtwara and Ruvuma, at the Southern of Tanzania. It is noted as being more than four times bigger than the Serengeti.
While it is still very special to visit the reserve as it is one of the most remote reserves, and therefore one of the least visited reserves in the whole of the continent of Africa, with less than 1% of wildlife tourists to Tanzania visiting the reserve.
I have been a Ranger in Selous for over three years now, and that fact that I work in one of the world’s largest wildlife reserves with a multitude of different and impressive environments, habitats and ecosystems for African wildlife is wonderful, but I see first hand every day how the whole area is under constant threat due to the ever increasingly sophisticated (and brutal) ways in which the modern-day poacher is operating.
To combat this successfully, we seriously need to up our game…
• We need to train more people to become Anti-Poaching Wildlife Rangers
• We need to be able to cover more ground than we presently do during our patrols. (There are only 60 Rangers in 12 sections, patrolling an area bigger than Switzerland)
• We need to be able to record the locations of any poaching kills far more accurately
• We need to be able to photograph the incident so it can be forensically examined for clues as to who the poachers are
• These records then need to be added to a database and stored safely for future reference
• We need to educate the local population that live in the area into understanding the value of the wildlife and therefore helping us protect it
• We need to be able to efficiently patrol more and more land more effectively to be able to drive out the poachers
• We need to be able to apprehend and return any poachers caught in the act of poaching back to our Ranger HQ, so they can stand trial for their crimes
But we are facing one serious problem…
…We simply do not have the funds to do this ourselves !
The Ranger Service in general and the Wildlife Rangers themselves receive very little funding from the Tanzanian Government for their work, and are only paid for 2 out of every 4 weeks of work. Each Ranger spends 15 days in the bush on patrol and other 15 days in the Ranger headquarters each month (we are only paid for our time patrolling in the bush).
All of our equipment is either old, inadequate or in need of repair or replacement.
We are expected to repair or replace a lot of this equipment from our wages ourselves, which we simply do not have the money to do.
We already have to do things like supply our own boots and uniforms, out of our own extremely small wages. We are using our own mobile telephones in the bush because we don’t have any satellite telephones supplied to us from the government.
We only have 2 working vehicles throughout the reserve, so we cannot carry out our daily duties as we need to due to the serious restriction of having to do everything on foot. The knock-on effect of this is we can only walk 5 to 8 Kilometres a day during patrols as it is very hot and we have to carry all of our equipment (including water) on our backs; the poachers know this; and heavily use this knowledge to their advantage.
Please, Please, could you help us with this… Could you help us to be more efficient with our Anti-Poaching Patrols by donating any funds that you are able to; and help stop the poachers killing all the beautiful wildlife in our world ?
Sigifrid Edward Massawe
Grade 2 Wildlife Ranger with the Tanzanian Anti-poaching Wildlife Ranger Service.