Contributing to conservation and community development
Communities next to protected areas are challenged to find sustainable livelihood opportunities that support, rather than hinder, wildlife conservation.
Some villages adjacent to protected areas set aside village land for wildlife protection. They are called Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and are important buffer zones around the core protected areas. Frankfurt Zoological Society works with the people living in the ecosystem to become actively engaged in conservation and in finding sustainable livelihood opportunities that support, rather than hinder, wildlife conservation.
Five villages next to Ikoma Gate, bordering the world-famous Serengeti National Park, have joined together to form one WMA. Masegeri Rurai, FZS-Project Leader of Serengeti Ecosystem Management Project explains the approach.
How can Ikona WMA contribute to the conservation of the Serengeti Ecosystem?
How do villages profit when they leave parts of their land untouched?
Communities benefit from WMAs because these areas attract wildlife, which makes them attractive for tourism. Masegeri Rurai
Wild animals close to human settlements can cause conflicts. How do the villages deal with this?
The villagers also manage the wildlife in this area. They created a special task force of village game scouts. Those village game scouts are trained like government rangers at the Pasiansi Wildlife Training Institute in Mwanza. They patrol the area to make sure the animals and the people are safe, just like rangers do in the national parks.
However, some conflicts do occur. Mostly in villages which have not yet set aside land for wildlife. That is why FZS is working to develop land-use plans with those communities, so they can minimise hard edges and potentially also benefit from wildlife like other villages. Within the next three years we expect to support 15 to 20 villages which are bordering Serengeti National Park.
We also introduced community conservation banks (COCOBA), which allow communities to invest in environmentally-friendly businesses.