Where We Work
Our work focuses primarily in East Africa. We place a major emphasis on Tanzania, the most biologically rich country in continental Africa. Within Tanzania, our sister organization, the Tanzania People & Wildlife Fund, is well established in five geographic areas of Northern Tanzania including the magnificent Maasai Steppe within the Tarangire-Manyara landscape and the famous Kilimanjaro-Amboseli ecosystem on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. Additional efforts in East Africa currently run through our Partner Services program.
Our Northern Tanzania Efforts:
Northern Tanzania is a vibrant and important ecological stronghold for both wildlife and people. This breathtaking landscape encompasses approximately 40,000 square kilometers or nearly 10 million acres of Acacia woodlands, Commiphora bushland and open grassland and includes Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks. In Northern Tanzania, there are no fences. Wildlife moves freely over this vast area also inhabited by rural communities. Nearly 92% of this critical landscape is designated Maasai communal lands where livestock husbandry represents the primary livelihood. Maintaining healthy rangelands is a critical concern for both the Maasai people and the wildlife dependent on this arid environment. Our field-based headquarters, the Noloholo Environmental Center, is located in the southern Maasai Steppe within the village lands of Loibor Siret and overlooking the southeastern boundary of Tarangire National Park. From this center – the only rural conservation and community education center in Northern Tanzania – we provide important educational opportunities and services to rural communities focusing on long-term natural resource management.
More specifically, we are currently working to protect big cats, including Tanzania’s most threatened lion population, and other wildlife species and to maintain landscape connectivity across the following five critical program areas of Northern Tanzania’s rangelands (see map, right):
(1) The Maasai Steppe (east and southeast of Tarangire National Park)
(2) The wildlife corridor between Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks
(3) The Lake Manyara-Lake Natron wildlife corridor
(4) The Natron Wildlife Management Area
(5) The West Kilimanjaro-Amboseli Ecosystem
A Critical Protected Area at Risk within the Landscape: Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park, covering 2600 square kilometers, is a significant dry season grazing refuge for large herbivores in the Maasai Steppe. Situated along the eastern and western banks of the Tarangire River – one of the main, permanent water sources for the ecosystem – the park provides a safe haven for the second highest concentration of large mammals in northern Tanzania. It is home to endangered and rare species like the African Wild Dog, the Fringe-Eared Oryx and the last wild population of the Blue Wildebeest subspecies (Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus), as well as one of Tanzania’s most threatened African Lion populations. But, towards the end of the dry season, the park’s grazing resources become strained and dwindle. At the onset of the rains, much of the wildlife moves out of the park throughout the Maasai Steppe, seeking nourishment while allowing the park’s habitat to regenerate. Without intact Maasai rangelands beyond its boundaries, Tarangire National Park risks becoming ecologically isolated, maintaining only a fraction of the wild species it once sustained in abundance.