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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 the Southeast of Tanzania is one of Africa’s largest protected areas and internationally recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Extending to about 50,000 square kilometres, larger than Switzerland, the Selous Game Reserve accounts for more than a fifth of Tanzania’s protected area network.

The Selous has a high 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 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 supported the protection of Selous in the 1980s and 1990s and more recently since 2012 with assistance in aerial surveys, provision of an aircraft for conservation purposes, and providing technical and logistic support.

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

  • Baseline ecological assessments
  • Review and update of the General Management Plan and financial plan
  • Development and implementation of management instruments
  • Support and advise on law enforcement through aerial surveillance, improving the communication system and ranger training
  • Capacity building programs
  • Ecosystem monitoring and evaluation framework in collaboration with partners
  • Intensive protection measures for black rhinos
  • Establishment of ‘Selous Ecosystem Coordination Forum’

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

FZS Spotlight