Serengeti Ecosystem Management


The Serengeti ecosystem is a mosaic of protected areas and community land. Wildlife traverses each of these areas throughout the year. Protecting the wilderness area and promoting sustainable development of the local communities go hand in hand.

Frankfurt Zoological Society works with the people living in the ecosystem to become actively engaged in conservation and in finding sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Local people often rely on natural resources and ecosystem services, but unsustainable resource use is contributing to loss of biodiversity and wildlife habitat.

The Serengeti Ecosystem Management (SEMA) office works to promote alternative ways for communities to earn income and to benefit from the area’s protection to create incentives for conservation of the Serengeti ecosystem.


FZS has been working in the Serengeti for over 50 years. We continue to work closely with local partners to ensure that the conservation efforts extend beyond the National Park. Our partners include: Serengeti National Park, the Wildlife Division, Tanzania Wildlife Authority, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Meatu District Councils and the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute.

At the ecosystem level, SEMA is implementing diverse strategies aiming to achieve positive conservation impacts while improving livelihoods from household to village levels:
Community Conservation Banks (COCOBAs)
Conservation is also a challenge of mitigating poverty. FZS is helping to establish Community Conservation Banks, a savings and banking loans model that aims to reduce pressure on natural resources and provide economic opportunities. COCOBAs allow members to access loans to establish conservation-friendly businesses, such as beekeeping, chicken farming and tree planting. FZS supports and facilitates the marketing and business development for members across several districts surrounding Serengeti National Park.
Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM)
FZS provides technical assistance to engage local communities in ecosystem conservation and management. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are protected areas established by communities on village lands. Communities are able to generate revenues through wildlife tourism. FZS assisted in establishing two WMAs in the Serengeti ecosystem (Makao and Ikona), and is now working to ensure good governance, and protection of these areas.

FZS is also facilitating community-managed forest areas in the Loliondo highlands. These forests are an important water catchment area and the source of the Grumeti River, a year-round source of water for wildlife in the Serengeti.
Serengeti Conservation for Development Challenge
FZS is working with the Serengeti National Park and District Councils to develop mechanisms for improving benefit sharing. The “Serengeti Conservation for Development Challenge” is a way to improve the equitability and transparency of the allocation of benefits to communities. It is a competitive program to reward villages that are demonstrating commitment to conservation.
Participatory Village Land-use Plans
FZS works with villages and District Councils adjacent to protected areas to develop scientifically informed land-use plans. Participatory land-use planning can address multiple socio-economic and conservation objectives by strengthening the communities’ property rights and increasing benefits from natural resources, as well as reducing human-wildlife conflict.
On the occasion of World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2017, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has published this video about our cooperation in the Serengeti ecosystem: