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Grass with Class: Livestock Grazing Rangelands Double as Wildlife Connectivity Routes in Northern Tanzania

Villages in Tanzania are pooling land and resources to preserve special grazing lands that now double as connectivity passage routes for wildlife species moving between National Parks and Game Reserves.

This symbiotic relationship between local villages in pastoral communities and conservation entities is achieved through the new initiative of restoration of landscape connectivity through proper land use plan.

In Northern Tanzania villages have been pooling land to form joint community rangelands that provide grazing areas for their livestock.

At the same time the rangelands are serving as important connectivity routes for wildlife moving from one National Park or Game Reserve to another, unperturbed.

“This is a win-win situation, livestock get their grazing plains and wildlife can now move freely from one area of conservation to another,” explained the Director of the Tanzania Natural Resources Forum (TNRF) Zacharia Faustine.

According to the TNRF Director, this new community based approach in environment conservation is proving to be effective in the restoration of wildlife corridors without necessarily causing the usual Human-Wildlife Conflicts.

Livestock grazing on the foreground as Giraffes move in the background

The community-based approaches including village land use plans that support landscape connectivity have been successfully implemented in Babati and Kiteto Districts of Manyara Region where the Tanzania Natural Resources Forum is coordinating engagement process through financial support from the USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili activity.

The TNRF recently organized a special familiarization mission to several villages in Babati and Kiteto where a team of 56 participants from the Manyara and Arusha regions went to learn from the residents how they managed to record such achievements.

The team in the acquaintance trip was made up of regional secretariats, Babati and Monduli district councils, wards and village leaders as well as traditional elders.

In Babati Rural District, the team learned that, protecting natural resources through proper land use management has enabled the Sangaiwe village to be raking in 1.2 billion/- through tourism-based investments, according to the area chairperson Marian Manso.

Sangaiwe located adjacent to Tarangire National Park is also one of the ten villages that have pooled in land to form the Burunge Wildlife Management Area mapped within the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem.

In the remote Kiteto District, it was discovered that the Makame and Ndendo wards also have formed their Makame Wildlife Management Area through which 3719 square kilometers of land have been designated for conservation.

“Out of that we have set aside 1040 square kilometers of wilderness for carbon trading which earns our villages over 2.6 billion/- annually,” explained Supuk Koringa Ole Kao the Makame WMA Secretary.

Four other villages of Kiteto including Amei, Lolera, Lesoit and Lembapuli have also pooled in their territories to form the ‘Alole’ rangeland serving as joint grazing plains for villagers as well as connectivity tracks for wildlife.