Greetings from everyone at African People & Wildlife! We hope you are enjoying a productive start to 2017.
Here in Tanzania, the beginning of the new year has been a time of reflection for us. While we are excited about all that we plan to achieve in 2017, we are also mindful of the challenges that lie ahead. With recent reports citing dramatic population declines of cheetahs, giraffes, and many other species, and with great uncertainty surrounding the policies that protect our environment, we know there has never been a more urgent time to fight for our wildlife, our people, and our planet.
While the path ahead may not be easy, we still believe that this is a time of opportunity and hope. We were recently reminded of this when two lion prides reestablished territories in our program areas and several observations of endangered wild dogs were recorded in the communal landscapes where we work. These developments are a major achievement for APW and point to the positive impact of our work. When we witness wildlife populations recovering, habitats improving, and thousands of local people engaging in conservation activities, we know that we—together with the community members we work with, our partners, and supporters like you—are truly are making a difference for Africa’s people, wildlife, and wild lands.
A few additional highlights from the past three months include:
Wildlife Conservation and Human-Wildlife Conflict Prevention
- 99 new Living Walls were installed in areas identified as high priorities based on our conflict monitoring data, bringing our total to more than 750 Living Walls across Northern Tanzania.
- Elvis Kisimir, our Human-Wildlife Conflict Prevention Program Officer, has been engaging in knowledge-sharing and skill development. He recently attended a four-day #Innovate4Wildlife workshop in Amboseli, Kenya where a group of conservationists and community members explored innovative solutions to human-wildlife conflict. Elvis also participated in a National Geographic Storytelling Bootcamp in Rwanda, where he received training in photography, videography, and storytelling.
Natural Resource Management
- As part of our new community rangeland monitoring program, we completed meetings with all participating villages to create awareness and build consensus regarding the details of pasture assessment.
- We conducted a rangeland management training introducing a Smartphone and Online Datakit monitoring system, which will be used by rangeland monitors from five communities to collect data during their assessments of pasture quality.
- Pilot rangeland monitoring began in three villages to field test the new system, while new communities are preparing to get involved.
Sustainable Conservation Enterprise
- 529 kg of processed honey from our Women’s Beekeeping Initiative was weighed and packed for sale to tourism camps and local stores in Arusha.
- 18 women’s groups received payment for 741 kg of raw honey that was harvested before October 2016, bringing the women’s harvest total to nearly two tons of crude honey and resulting in profits of $4577 among 29 women’s groups in 2016.
- More than 110 representatives from 50 women’s groups gained essential new skills through locally-held beekeeping and enterprise trainings.
- Staff members met with the government of Loibor Siret to select three community members to attend a tour guide course in support of the Oldonyo Nape community campsite. The participants are sponsored by APW and began their course in December.
- Our youth environmental mentors continued to inspire Tanzania’s youth, working with their respective after-school Wildlife Clubs to promote conservation awareness and action.
- Our environmental education staff and local leaders held exams for all graduates of our Wildlife Clubs. The exams are required for all who wish to apply for a Noloholo Environmental Scholarship.
- We awarded five new Noloholo Environmental Scholarships to a private school and increased our support of local community scholars, bringing our total number of students supported this year to 40.
We are busy making preparations for our annual spring tour of the U.S. this April. While we will no longer be hosting our annual spring benefit in New Jersey, we will be available for individual meetings and events. In addition to giving talks at Yale on April 18–19, we will be visiting with supporters and speaking at a number of additional gatherings. Please reach out to us if you’d like to connect—our schedule is filling up and we’d like to see as many of you as possible!
As always, we are very grateful that you are part of our community.
Laly Lichtenfeld, Ph.D.
Director of Programs