Wildlife Conservation Projects
“We need to think of the future and the planet we are going to leave our children and their children”
Tanzania is marked by a spectacular and diverse landscape of savannahs, mountain ranges including Africa’s highest mountain – Kilimanjaro, tropical coastline and islands, as well as three of the biggest lakes in Africa. The massive growth of human settlements has had a significant impact and today 40% of Tanzania’s surface is cultivated woodland. With this loss of natural habitat, comes the loss of wildlife. LiveWildlife independently engages in wildlife conservation projects that bring the interests of the residents and the environment together, in an attempt to reverse this worrying trend.
Rehabilitation of elephant migration route
Elephants once migrated from the Tarangire River, via the south-west edge of Lake Manyara and the high plateau of the Manyara forest, to the wide area of the Ngorongoro Crater, eventually ending in the Serengeti. The interdependence between elephants and nature, which existed before the path was interrupted, is essential to the region’s entire ecosystem. In addition to this, due to the growing human population, as well as the rapid increase in poaching, Tarangire National Park has become the ideal refuge for the entire elephant population native to this ecosystem. Elephants do, however, leave a heavy foot print and the park struggles to cope with the increased numbers of ‘resident elephant’.
It is our goal through this rehabilitation project and together with our partners, to re-establish the balance between flora and fauna by revitalising the ancient elephant migration route between Tarangire and Manyara National Parks. Adding 50 000 acres of new, protected concession land to the National Park also enlarges and secures the land where Tanzania’s highest density of elephants are living.
For more read our paper on Rehabilitation of the link between Tarangire and Manyara.
The Living Walls project
Retaliatory killings of lions, leopards, and cheetahs by local herdsman, after these big cats have attacked a herdsman’s cow or goat, have ravaged the cat populations across Africa. In response, African People and Wildlife designed an environmentally-friendly corral, called a ‘living wall’ to protect livestock from predators and bring a halt to big cat killings. A living wall is made by planting indigenous trees and weaving the growing branches through strong chain-link fencing. Once the trees take root and grow, they form an impenetrable, natural livestock enclosure.
Through a generous donation of $500 all the materials needed to build a complete corral, as well as training in the proper construction techniques, are provided to local herdsmen, while they provide the labour themselves. The lives of lions and other big cats are saved, and local families can keep their small herds of goats or cows, usually their only means of providing for their family, safe.
A core element of LiveWildlife’s wildlife protection strategy is the establishment of an anti-poaching unit in 2010. Currently this unit patrols the area connecting the east-side of Lake Manyara and the north-west side of Tarangire National Park, the location of Chem Chem Wildlife Concession and the re-established elephant migration route. It protects the area from poaching, as well as ensuring the land is not being used for livestock grazing and agriculture. Since the patrols began, and the natural vegetation has flourished, animals such as giraffes, baboons, zebras, wildebeest, warthogs and cheetahs have returned.The anti-poaching unit is currently dependent on the financial support of Chem Chem Wildlife Concession, but LiveWildlife recognises the need to support this team and would like to provide them with equipment, such as bicycles, motorcycles and a pickup; education in the form of English courses for the rangers so that they can better communicate with foreign visitors, and support to build a patrol path and the marking out of a boundary using boundary stones.
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
In 1995, a ministerial task force was proposed, in Tanzania, to create village-based Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). The purpose of WMAs was to create conservation incentives by empowering local villagers to manage wildlife themselves and to earn revenue from activities such as tourism and selling hunting licences. WMAs can only be established if the village agrees on forming a WMA, they can then apply for a user right and/or hunting permission from the Wildlife Division. “The Wildlife Division would grant the villages a quota of animals, which they could either hunt themselves or sell to a tourist-hunting operator” (Source: Nelson). In the case of user rights being granted, the village can earn revenue from non-consumptive tourism, for example by leasing tourist concessions for a set period of time.
LiveWildlife has launched its pilot WMA project, in partnership with Chem Chem Wildlife Concession. In 2007, Chem Chem was granted a 60-year user-right concession for the Burunge West WMA (Chem Chem Safari Lodge) and in 2013 it was granted a 5-year user right for the Burunge East WMA (Little Chem Chem Lodge).
The success of this project lies in the fact that:
- the communities are empowered to manage the land, and decide what will happen with the wildlife habitat
- the whole community supports the land-use concept
- village participation leads to fewer problems due to grazing cattle or other misuse of the land by local people
- the villager’s extensive knowledge of their surrounding habit prevents the common mistake in wildlife protection of simply replicating a working system that has succeeded in one specific area to another one, where it may fail
- WMAs enable villagers to earn an income from the land.