The Giraffe may be a National Symbol in Tanzania, but people in Manyara find this wildlife species rather delicious.
Well at least, they are now hunting and killing the skyscraping mammals with abandon.
Two people, both residents of Minjingu Village in Babati District of Manyara, have been arrested after being found with a whole carcass of freshly killed Giraffe.
The Manyara Regional Police Commander, George Katabazy has confirmed the incident.
He issued the names of the two suspects, who include a teenager; Masiali Lais Kipara aged 19 and his mate, Paulo Richard (23).
The duo was allegedly in the process of hacking the giraffe carcass into pieces, intending to sell the game meat to other residents in the locality.
The Giraffe Carcass in their possession weighed 54.5 Kilograms. The value of the dead animal was quoted at 35.1 Million, equivalent to USD 15,300.
Now, a Kilogram of Giraffe meat is sold at Tanzanian Shillings 10000 or around USD 4, in the black markets of Manyara.
Surprisingly it is almost the same price charged for a Kilo of beef, which also sells at 10,000/- in local butchery outlets.
However, prices for the game meat are subjected to change without notice once the lot gets smuggled to other regions.
But for residents of Babati, wildlife meat seems preferable, with Giraffe flesh topping the bill.
There is a huge wave of wildlife poaching for game meat in Babati District.
Wild animals are usually being gunned down in the wildlife corridor linking Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, which of late has been experiencing surging population of wild animals due to local conservation efforts.
At some point in between the long and vast corridor, there is the community operated Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
In fact, it is the rangers working for Burunge WMA who tracked down the illegal hunters, managing to arrest them with support from the guards of the Chem Chem association which operates tourists lodges in the area.
“We found the suspects in the process of skinning the dead giraffe, ready to slice off its flesh for game meat,” explains the Burunge WMA ranger, Samwel Bayo.
Erick Nyman is the Anti-Poaching officer serving with the Chem Chem Association, a tourist entity which has invested in the wildlife management area, who adds that there were four people skinning the giraffe but two others managed to escape.
Nyman points out that the Chem Chem Association spends more than 400 million/-, around USD 174,000 in Anti-Poaching efforts within the Wildlife Corridor.