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One Man's Quest to Save Tanzania's Forests


7 November 2016 News

- Illegal logging in Tanzania, which has the highest deforestation rate in East Africa and the fifth highest deforestation rate in the world, is rampant.

- Tanzania’s consumption of wood exceeds its supply, creating an annual 19.5 million cubic meters of “wood deficit”.

- Illegal loggers captured and driven away from the forests by Matinda on his patrols are rarely punished by officials.

NAMALULU, Tanzania – Tumaini Matinda dropped to one knee and fixed his intense gaze on a watermelon rind in the middle of the narrow path. Deep in the Tanzanian bush, the green rind stood out against the bright red earth.

“This shouldn’t be here,” he said. The 37 year-old safari guide and self-assigned warden of the forest sprinted into the thick growth to look for the human source of the discarded rind: poachers.

Tall and lanky, Matinda – who is a respected community leader and part of the African Maasai tribe – moved effortlessly through the trees. Three other young Maasai men followed close behind, all armed with machetes and a fierce desire to protect the forest.

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