Wildlife Watch has gotten its hands on some horrifying footage of hunting and wild animal abuse in Tanzania, where a company known as Green Mile Safari has been caught allowing its clients to hunt protected animals with semi-automatic weapons, run over animals with jeeps, and otherwise torture animals before killing them.
The abuses originally came to light back in March, but Green Mile Safari, which several Tanzanian media outlets have suggested is well-connected politically, retained its hunting license until July, when Lazaro Nyalandu, the country’s minister of natural resources and tourism revoked its permission to hunt. The footage itself has been seen by members of Tanzania’s parliament, but has not, until now, been released to the public.
“Our country and its resources are owned by all Tanzanians. It is strictly prohibited for any person or company both local and foreign to sabotage the country’s economy by destroying the resources,” Peter Msigwa, Tanzania’s shadow minister of natural resources and tourism said at the time.
But Green Mile is fighting that decision: It has threatened to sue the government for revoking its licenses, and there’s a chance it could win. After the video was initially shown to Tanzania’s parliament, no action was taken, perhaps because Green Mile is well-backed financially from its owners in the UAE. It wasn’t until Nyalandu unilaterally revoked the license that hunting tours stopped.
Representatives of Green Mile, owned by Awadh Ally Abdullah and Abdullah Bin Butti Alhamed of the United Arab Emirates (its website is also hosted in the UAE), can be seen in the video above shooting wildlife from jeeps, running over a baby gazelle with the jeep, allowing young children to shoot at animals, and capturing a baby zebra and torturing it while it cries and tries to get away.
Repeatedly, hunters on Green Mile Safari trips watch animals writhe as they slowly die. At one point, a hunter shoots a writhing zebra with a rifle attached to a tripod from several feet away.
“What you see here are hunters treating this like their personal playground,” Mary Rice, the executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency. “We condemn the abuse that’s taking place. Although the clients are involved in the abuse, the hunting company itself are the ones who are liable,” she said. “If it’s done with integrity and professionalism, the animal is tracked on foot and dispatched with a single shot. There will be a professional hunter will be there to dispatch the animal quickly if the client has been unable to do that.”
Regardless, allegations of hunting abuse have a long history in Tanzania, and there have been anecdotal stories of things like what you see here happening, but this is the rare, and perhaps first, case in which solid evidence of hunters screwing with and torturing animals has come out.
It probably won’t be the last. “We now suspect that many other firms are involved in this illegal practice,” Msigwa said last month.
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