Conserving Northern Tanzania’s Large Carnivores

February 28, 2022

By African People & Wildlife

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A lion cub looks up to her mother in Tanzania's Tarangire ecosystem. (Photo: African People & Wildlife/Laly Lichtenfeld)

Northern Tanzania is home to some of Africa’s most threatened populations of lions, leopards, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. All three of Tanzania’s big cats are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, while African wild dogs are classified as Endangered. In the region, human population growth and shrinking habitats are causing people and wildlife to interact more than ever before. As a result, large carnivores face urgent threats to their survival from human-wildlife conflict, the loss and fragmentation of their living spaces, the decline of prey species, and illegal hunting.
 
Tanzania People & Wildlife (TPW) reduces these threats through innovative, community-based initiatives like Living Walls. These nature-friendly corrals keep valuable livestock safe and in turn prevent retaliation against lions and other large carnivores. Living Walls also add tens of thousands of trees to wildlands and bring peace and prosperity to rural families. Through our Sustainable Rangelands Initiative, TPW supports communities to restore and protect vital habitats for people and wildlife. Meanwhile, our Women’s Beekeeping Initiative preserves Tanzania’s life-sustaining savannas and improves land connectivity by hanging beehives in key wildlife areas and corridors.

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A Living Wall owner looks over the family's safely corraled livestock in Tanzania. (Photo: African People & Wildlife/Erika Piñeros)

With support from IUCN Save Our Species and the European Union since 2019, TPW:

  • Installed 377 Living Walls in partnership with communities in the Tarangire ecosystem. While reducing human-wildlife conflict, these Living Walls improved the livelihoods of 2,959 people, added more than 63,000 trees to wildlands, and protected $3.6 million in livestock—a key financial resource for the local Maasai people.
  • Supported 581 women across 27 women’s groups to hang 230 beehives in large carnivore territory. By establishing sustainable beekeeping businesses, rural women experience increased financial independence and a sense of empowerment.
  • Partnered with 15 communities to sustainably monitor and manage rangelands. Healthy pastures for wildlife also mean greater climate change resilience and improved financial security for local people.
  • Engaged and inspired 2,200 future conservation leaders through youth environmental education. The students share their knowledge and passion for nature with their friends and families to spread conservation awareness throughout their communities.
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A member of the Women's Beekeeping Initiative holds a jar of Mama Asali wildlife-friendly honey. (Photo: African People & Wildlife/Erika Piñeros)

When communities thrive, wildlife thrives too. Since 2019, conflict at the boma (homestead) in the Tarangire ecosystem has fallen by more than 50%. TPW believes the increased presence of Living Walls contributed to this dramatic drop. Tolerance for living with wildlife, including large carnivores, has improved significantly in the communities surrounding Tarangire National Park. 1 The local protection of essential habitats for lions, leopards, cheetahs, and African wild dogs has shown a significant increase as a result of sustainable rangeland management by communities and the increased presence of beehives and resident honeybees.

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A leopard rests in a tree in northern Tanzania. (Photo: African People & Wildlife/Laly Lichtenfeld)

TPW is extremely grateful to IUCN Save Our Species and the European Union for their partnership and important contribution to the conservation of Tanzania’s large carnivores.

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With the support of IUCN Save Our Species, co-funded by the European Union

1 A likert scale question asked Living Wall owners how they feel about living with predators where 1 is very bad and 5 is very good. The average increased from 2.3 to 3.8 in the targeted communities. In the control communities—with no IUCN programming or Living Walls—the average stayed about the same at 2.6 in the baseline and 2.5 in the endline.

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Arusha, Tanzania

+255 767 172 086

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Bernardsville, NJ 07924

+1 (908) 642-1540

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