Wildlife conservation force (Tanzania)

Country: Tanzania
Details of Formation: In mid-2016, Jumanne Maghembe, Tanzania's Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, first announced that a paramilitary force would be deployed to protect wildlife and natural resources. As a result, the existing working system for forest and wildlife rangers was changed from civilian to paramilitary, with rangers receiving military training that began in 2016. The militia was officially inaugurated by Tanzania's Vice President Samia Suluhu on November 17, 2018.
Details of Termination: The group still exists in 2020.
Purpose: The group’s main goal is to protect wildlife and other natural resources. It targets poachers, illegal harvesters, illegal traffickers of wildlife organs and products and other criminals both inside wildlife parks and game reserves and in unprotected areas. Because the units are military-trained, they should be better able to protect themselves and counter attacks from criminals. In addition, the group is tasked with protecting the parks from terror attacks. The creation of the militia is intended to strengthen discipline in the institutions belonging to the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources.
Organisation: The group operates under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and consists of all departments and agencies dealing with wildlife, forestry, and other natural resources. It was formed by transforming existing civilian wildlife and forest institutions into paramilitary units. This transformation is provided for in the Wildlife Management Act No. 5 of 2009.
Weapons and Training: Since October 2016, rangers have received military training. During the anti-poaching training, which is also attended by key personnel from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the rangers learn military strategies to combat poaching and protect wildlife. The training enables them to use modern anti-poaching weapons and surveillance equipment. The training takes place at Katavi Wildlife Reserve and Fort Ikoma in the Serengeti District. The Pasiansi Wildlife Training Institute (PWTI) and the Tanzania Forest Service (TFS) provide the training.
Size: The first 68 rangers and conservation mangers received military training in 2016. As of 2018, the paramilitary unit consisted of 313 female and male personnel. In 2020, 1566 wildlife and forest officers completed military training.
Reason for Membership: The group consists of male and female game and forest rangers and conservation managers who are recruited by the Tanzania People’s Defence Force. Members are officials from organizations including the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (Tawa), the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa), the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) and the wildlife division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
Treatment of Civilians: Following the announcement of the establishment of the group, a non-governmental organization, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), has warned of human rights violations under the pretext of protecting wildlife. However, no such violations have been reported since then.
Other Information: --
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.