‘Wildlife protection means war against poachers’

THE College of African Wildlife Management (CAWM) in Tanzania has introduced a paramilitary course to equip its students with Knowledge on how to deal with poachers.

CAWM Rector Prof Jafari Kideghesho says the college has registered tangible success and its graduates are demonstrating the same in the countries they are working. Wildlife conservation is basically the practice of protecting wild plant and animal species and their habitats.

The goal is to ensure that nature will be around for the future generations to enjoy and also to recognize the importance of wildlife and wilderness for humans and other species alike. Wildlife conservation has become an increasingly important practice due to the negative effects of human activity on wildlife.

An endangered specie is defined as a population of a living specie that is in danger of becoming extinct because of several reasons. Some of the reasons can be, that the species have a very low population or they are threatened by the varying environmental or prepositional parameters. In Tanzania some such animals are elephants and rhinos. Prof Kideghesho says that this year CAWM had 220 students 49 of whom were females, making up 22 percent.

They, have been trained and examined to the highest and competent standards and are ready to go and serve in their respective areas of specialization. The College of African Wildlife Management has trained over 8,000 wildlife and tourism professionals from 52 countries worldwide, including 24 non-African countries, he says.

The college has, indeed, demonstrated that it was created to serve not only Africa but the global wildlife conservation community. In 1961 the Father of this nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, affirmed in the famous Arusha Manifesto that, 'The conservation of wildlife and wild places calls for specialist knowledge, trained manpower and money'. We have indeed implemented and continue to implement this early conservation visionary commitment statement.

As we do this, we subscribe to the words of wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi that 'the Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed'. � Indeed, we hold this in trust, he says. The rector says that their alumni serve in several wildlife and forest protected areas of Africa and beyond. That they have always been quite popular with employers, but also a significant proportion of them have been able to engage effectively in selfemployment

. These are the judges and witnesses of our history, i.e. witnesses of where the college started from and where it stands today. Even in the past one year there have been notable positive changes in the areas of field transport, camping, teaching and students' accommodation, he explains.

Some hostels and cafeteria have undergone major renovation and currently the major renovation of the college buildings are underway. But, while it is doing all those using internal generated funds, it has approached and is continuing to approach donors, including the African Development Bank (ADB), for grants. It is also negotiating with National Housing Corporation (NHC) to build new hostels with a total capacity of 400 students.

In our self assessment, we would like to submit that the College has grown and diversified its training programmes in response to emerging challenges and our customers' demands. We now offer a total of 10 training programmes from Basic Certificate to Postgraduate Diploma and we are currently developing a Master degree curriculum in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University of the UK, he says.

The College has strategically positioned itself as a centre of excellence in wildlife management training in the East Africa region and is recognised so by the East African Community (EAC) since 2013. It is also recognised by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as experts in training wildlife and tourism professionals. Therefore, one must be proud to be part of this College.

These challenges are threatening the survival of wildlife species, the tourism sector and the economy in general. Furthermore, poaching and illegal wildlife trade is regarded as a security and humanitarian issue attested to fund political conflicts and terrorism in Africa, he says.

The college has regularly being reviewing its curricula by involving its stakeholders to design courses that would effectively address the emerging challenges and market demands. The curriculum review is also undertaken to take advantage of the emerging opportunities for furthering conservation work such as technological advancement and policy reforms.

The last time the College reviewed its curricula was in August, this year, he says. Speaking of the Government's decision to adopt paramilitary approach in managing its natural resources including wildlife, Professor Kidegesho congratulates the government for the move.

He says it is a vital step towards combating wildliferelated crimes. In line with the move, he says CAWM has introduced paramilitary training in curricula for all programmes offered by the College. It is obvious to all students that are participating or dodging paramilitary is an issue of shape up or ship out! I sincerely thank the management of Police College of Moshi for immense support thy have rendered.

The college has been a major collaborator in ensuring that this training is effectively and successfully conducted by by providing instructors, firearms and training grounds, he says. Mweka, as CAWM is fondly known due to the name of the village is unique from other higher learning institutions in many aspects. An introduction of paramilitary course in its curricula has made it more unique.

With exception of military institutions, Mweka is now the only higher learning institution where its students play parade and are imparted with military skills. For that matter, Mweka graduates are highly disciplined, with more stamina, more strength and more speed to confront the conservation challenges.

All Mweka staff including me are willing, eager and ready to join paramilitary training in Mlele. Our ambition is that in the next two years the entire College be in combats and boots, he says.

He appreciates the students' government for closely and smoothly working with the College Management in day-to-day activities. He thanks the Ministry of Water and Irrigation for funding a water supply project on campus by providing a financial support of 400m/.

He mentions other such partners in management and conservation of wildlife, sponsors of academic prizes; Robin Hurt Safaris (T) Ltd, Snake Park-Arusha, TAWA, African Wildlife Foundation- Arusha, Wildersun Safaris and Tours (T) Ltd, Wildlife Division, TANAPA, NCAA, Bonite Bottlers Ltd, Friedkin Conservation Fund, Leopard Tours, Kibo Guides, Asilia and Tembo Foundation. What challenges does CAWM face?

There are several, such as inadequate funds, field equipment infrastructure to cater for an increasing number of training programs, students and staff. We have shortage of field vehicles, camping gears, firearms, hostels, staff houses, classrooms, lecture theatres, library, laboratories, staff offices and teaching aids to mention just a few.

Furthermore, the College's field station at Kwakuchinja, has no water and power supply at all. The staff members who are stationed there permanently, and students who temporarily stay there, face big challenges when it comes to fetching water, using electronic equipment and lighting the camp at night, he says.

Source: Daily News