Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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  • North of Tanzania, close to the Kenya-Tanzania border.
  • Parkland occupies an area of 2,305,100 hectares and consists of immense open plains and volcaninc uplands
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  • Known for their herds of wildebeast (est 1.3 million), thomsons gazells (400,000) and plains zebra (200,000).
  • The area is home to other endangered species such as the African elephant, rhinoceros, hippos and giraffe,
  • More than 500 bird species inhabit the plains and waterways
  • Home to the nomadic herdsmen the Masi Mara, who have lived in harmony with the environment for thousands of years.
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  • Ncgorongoro Conservastion Area was set up in 1959, to make up for contreversial legislation passed with the setting up of the Serengeti National Park that had resulted in the Masi Mara loosing much of their land. 
  • Today some 52,000 Masi Mara live in the conservation area under strict regulations.
  • Since independance the areas have been manages by the Tanzanian government. In the late 1960's and early 1970's the park began to decline as economic recession meant there was a lack of finance for conservation projects.
  • Wardens and rangers were often not paid and were ill-equipped to protect wildlife. Poachers became a massive problem and elephant and rhino number dropped massively. 
  • 1980's saw a pick up of economic situation and tourism boomed.
  • This allowed the park to rebuild infrastructure and re-establish anti poaching units
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Current Issues

  • Nomadic pastoralists inhabit land on the fringes of the protected areas, but traditional way of lilfe is threatened as grazing land is becomingn increasigly scarse.
  • Furthermore population pressure from a country with a birth rate of 36 per 1000 and a 2% annual population growth, is putting ever-increasing pressure on existing resources.
  • The development of irrigation systes has enabled commercial agriculture to encroach into marginal areas and in recent years TNC's have offered incentives to village communities to grow crops for biofuels.
  • Sedentary farming also threatens traditional migration routes of both wildlife and nomadic herdsmen.
  • Another new threat is the invasion of the non-native Mexican prickly poppy, which rapidly takes over on overgrazed land, crowding out native species. 
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  • A co-operative inclusion approach to the management of local communities has seen much more success than the old top-down exclusive approach by the government.
  • Buffer zones or 'community wildlfie management areas' have been put in place around the park.
  • Local people are encouraged and have legal rights, to make decisions regarding the management of wildlife in these areas. In a hope to curb illegal poaching.
  • People around the edge of the reserve are allowed to do controlled and licensed hunting of game to controll herds and prevent over populaiton of the park and pressure on resources.
  • Tanzania has committed itself to protecting more than 42,000 km2 of land, aprox one third of its territory.
  • The main aim is to preserve the country's rich natural herritage amd to provide secure breeding grounds for its flora and fauna.
  • It has been realised that tourism is a massive influence on locals attitudes and support of the parks plans and schemes, by showing locals they can benefit economically from the protection of the area through the tourist industry.
  • Locals are involved in wildlife management, tour guides, in the hotels and through transport services.
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