Rungwa Game Reserve, TANZANIA. On Wednesday, Ambassador Mark Childress observed a training demonstration of field techniques learned by Tanzanian game scouts to increase their capacity to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking in Rungwa Game Reserve. The game scouts have been participating in a training conducted by U.S. military experts from U.S. Army Africa Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa and the North Carolina National Guard Special Forces, and funded by the U.S. government.
During two three-week training sessions between July 25 and September 9, 50 Tanzanian game scouts are being trained in surveillance and patrol techniques, arrest and detention procedures, search and seizure, crime scene investigation, first aid, human rights and rules of engagement.
Major General Greg Lusk, Adjutant General for the North Carolina National Guard, traveled to Tanzania to observe the training. Wednesday’s demonstration of field techniques was also attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) Major General Gaudence Milanzi, the Project Manager of Rungwa Game Reserve Saidi Kabanda, and the Country Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Tim Davenport.
This training program was initiated after Ambassador Childress visited Rungwa Park in 2015. Seeing the need for capacity building and improved infrastructure to stop the alarming rates of poaching in the Game Reserve, the Ambassador pledged to take quick action and, within a year, marshalled support from a variety of partners to assist the game scouts. He highlighted that an infusion of support from The Wyss Foundation provided equipment and light gear to game scouts at a post that had been taken over by poachers, enabling the game scouts to patrol this post during the rainy season for the first time in more than a decade. At the event on Wednesday, the Ambassador remarked, “This program highlights the strong collaboration that the United States has with Tanzania and is a model of what can be achieved when we all work together: government, security forces, the international community, NGOs, the private sector, and Tanzanian citizens across the country.”
This program is one part of a major effort by the U.S. Government and other partners to protect the elephant and wildlife corridor between Rungwa and Katavi, thus conserving a critical link between the Ruaha-Rungwa and Katavi ecosystems. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with WCS, is supporting the $8.5-million five-year Southern Highlands and Ruaha-Katavi Protection Program (SHARPP). SHARPP is focused on four key areas: wildlife management areas (WMAs); livelihoods; habitat management; and elephant monitoring and protection. In addition to this capacity training for the game scouts in Rungwa, WCS, with support from both USAID and private funds, has also conducted training with Tanzanian game scouts on crime scene management, the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), and rapid reaction.
More information about the Ruaha-Rungwa and Katavi ecosystems is available here:
To request more information about this event, please email Japhet Sanga (SangaJJ@state.gov), Senior Information Specialist at U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam.