Selous Conservation Project

Protecting one of the largest remaining wilderness areas in Africa

Elephant Profile
The Selous remains an important elephant stronghold in Tanzania. Photo: Felix Borner
The Selous Game Reserve in southeastern Tanzania is one of Africa’s largest protected areas and internationally recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Covering nearly 20,000 square miles, an area larger than Switzerland, the Selous Game Reserve accounts for more than one-fifth of Tanzania’s protected area network.

The Selous has a wide variety of habitats including Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests, and swamps, with diverse communities of plants and animals. More than 2,100 plant species have been recorded in the region, and the ecosystem is home to globally significant concentrations of elephants, buffalos, hippos and crocodiles, amongst many other species.

In 2014, the Selous Game Reserve was inscribed on the list of ‘World Heritage in Danger’ due to dramatic declines in wildlife populations, especially elephants as a result of poaching. Selous has energy and mineral deposits and potential for hydropower generation. In the south of Selous, a Uranium mine is under development. Carefully balancing development needs with impacts on the ecosystem and livelihoods is becoming ever more important.

What we do

Frankfurt Zoological Society has supported the protection of Selous since the 1980s. Most recently, since 2012 FZS has provided assistance through aerial surveys, provision of an aircraft for conservation purposes, and providing technical and logistical support to team members in Selous.

Since 2017, FZS has been an implementing and co-financing partner of the Tanzanian and German governments' joint ‘Selous Ecosystem Conservation and Development Program’ (SECAD). The objective of this program is to strengthen the Selous Game Reserve management and protection through the following activities:

  • Providing baseline ecological assessments
  • Reviewing and updating the General Management Plan and financial plan
  • Developing and implementing management instruments
  • Supporting and advising law enforcement through aerial surveillance, improving the communication system and ranger training
  • Administering capacity building programs
  • Conducting ecosystem monitoring and providing evaluation frameworks in collaboration with partners
  • Implementing intensive protection measures for black rhinos
  • Establishing ‘Selous Ecosystem Coordination Forum’

With support from the U.S. government, we will be working with the Selous Game Reserve management to further strengthen law enforcement through the training of specialized ranger units.

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