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Wildlife crime promoted by weak governance

Salum, Juma, Eustace, Abraham, Malata, Pius F., Mbangwa, Obeid F.
African journal of ecology 2018 v.56 no.1 pp. 101-108
Elephantidae, Rhinocerotidae, courts, crime, governance, law enforcement, wildlife, Tanzania
Wildlife crime such as illegal hunting of elephants and rhinos is currently one of the major issues in conservation. In order to combat poaching, law enforcement is essential. Here, we reviewed wildlife cases from the Northern Zone Anti‐Poaching Unit, Arusha, Tanzania (APU‐Arusha), focusing on the types of wildlife offence committed, prosecution outcomes and the sentences awarded to the offenders who were found guilty by the courts. Eighty‐two registered cases were thoroughly reviewed. The majority of wildlife offences committed were unlawful possession of, and failure to report, government trophies. It was found that only 16% of the accused were found guilty, 6% were acquitted, 30% of the charges were withdrawn, and 48% of the cases were discharged by the director of public prosecution (DPP) or magistrate. The poor conviction rate was attributed to weak evidence, failure of the prosecution to prove cases beyond reasonable doubt, lack of cooperation between the zonal game office and the DPP, and in some cases, the accused jumped their bails. Understanding the factors which allow individuals to continue to engage in poaching and the factors that promote the practice of good governance is vital in trying to stop wildlife crimes.