Africa's wildlife is increasingly pressured by a growing human presence. Our numbers negatively impact the wildlife habitat and consume its resources. Tanzania's population has increased from about 14 million in 1970 to 44 million in 2010. Farms and villages now often surround Parks and wilderness areas, trapping wildlife within. We are apparently not about to reduce our presence on this planet, so innovative and effective measures need to be taken to protect Africa's amazing natural resources.
A desire amongst local communities and within government circles to protect both habitat and wildlife is crucial. It is important to keep in sight the needs of those who share this environment. People cannot and should not be fenced out and natural resources cannot be kept under lock and key. Long term, the focus must include community based support for any effective conservation effort. Communities need help in developing a genuine interest in looking after what has already been lost elsewhere. Education is helping spread awareness about the value of the community's natural resources. It is a slow process, but we should not lose heart and give up.
Manyara Ranch is an innovative attempt at upholding what is right about conservation. The work of the African Wildlife Foundation is optimistic and necessary. Creating areas in which wildlife can continue to co-exist with humans, for the benefit of local communities are central principles of the Conservancy. We generate revenue from visitors that helps pay for patrols, area management and improvements to the habitat. More importantly, the Conservancy generates direct income for local communities and it offers work, salaries, skills training and education. Without these key ingredients, Manyara Ranch might end up as just a cattle ranch and little more. Manyara Ranch is much more than this - it is a successful cattle ranch AND an important wildlife corridor. Just 15 years ago, this dream was close to being lost.
The African Wildlife Foundation helped establish the Tanzania Land Conservation Trust, which now owns Manyara Ranch. AWF has supported the Manyara Ranch Project for over 12 years. During this time, the area has bounced back from the edge. The ranch had been exploited for its resources and animals would run at the sight of any vehicle many miles away. No longer! Animals are now almost unaffected by the human presence on foot or in a vehicle - testament to the success of AWF's conservation efforts. And the numbers continue to increase. There is no reason why Manyara Ranch Conservancy should not in the future, match neighboring parks as a place in which to experience the true wonders of Tanzania's wild areas - with the full support of the local population.
The Conservancy pays a substantial lease for the area, collects entrance fees equal to that of neighboring National Parks and pays a percentage of all revenue collected. The revenue passes to the Tanzania Land Conservation Trust. The Conservancy is committed to recruiting and training employees from neighboring villages so that salaries and benefits may pass directly to those who have granted access to this valuable piece of Africa. By visiting, you help promote this pioneering conservation concept in Tanzania.
You can also help by donating to the African Wildlife Foundation directly. This will help to purchase equipment, support ranger training and assist with community conservation programs. Your donations will also assist in financing conservation efforts in neighboring areas. For more information on how you can help, please contact us, or the African Wildlife Foundation.