Conservation: Tanzania rhino and elephant numbers going up

Last updated at 05:18
A bird and a rhino.Getty Images

The number of endangered rhinos in Tanzania has gone up thanks to a government crackdown on poaching there.

Four years ago the country had just 15 rhinos, but a statement said there are now 167.

The office for the Tanzanian president also said elephant populations have risen by nearly half in five years, thanks to the country tackling illegal ivory hunters.

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has been very strict about wildlife crime since taking office in 2015, urging security forces to arrest all those involved trafficking.

silhouette of an elephant and rhino.Getty Images
Poachers who target elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns have caused big problems in African countries

Rhinos are often poached for their horns. In some countries, the horns are used as a way of representing wealth or ground-down as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine.

Earlier this year a Chinese businesswoman, nicknamed the "Ivory Queen", was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Tanzanian court. She had been smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants to Asia.

Demand for rhino horn or ivory from elephant tusks in Asian countries such as China or Vietnam, has led to a big poaching problem across Africa.

As the country tries to boost animal numbers, Tanzania is now using 32 percent of its total land area for conservation.

However, British wildlife experts say the rise in rhino numbers are probably down to the animals being brought into the country from other places, rather than breeding among the animals that already live there.

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Newsround travelled to South Africa in 2016, to look at the issue of Rhino poaching there.

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