To hear Craig Sholley tell it, AWF never intended to build schools. Supporting capacity building and opportunities for conservation education, sure. But physically building a school?
In Africa, getting access to a good education isn’t so easy if you live in the bush. Meanwhile, these rural areas are where you find the rich habitats and wildlife.
Through the AWF Conservation Schools (ACS) program, AWF has leveraged education as a way to encourage conservation among rural communities: In exchange for target communities agreeing to take certain conservation actions, AWF is building, or rebuilding, primary schools.
What's the fuss about wild dogs? Well, it is quite a big deal. Wild dogs are endangered, almost disappearing from Tanzania's northern parks. It is easier to find a leopard, cheetah and lion on the same day than a wild dog. These “painted” dogs, roam far and wide covering great distances - here today but gone tomorrow, not to be seen again for months or years.
During U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Tanzania, and subsequent press conference, on Monday, he dropped the big announcement that the United States government would be putting efforts, and $10 million, toward combating wildlife trafficking and poaching.
Lioness in Tarangire / Photo by: Leslie Wainger
Our final “day” in Tarangire was really just a drive out of the park, then on to Manyara Ranch and the affiliated primary school, before finishing up at Gibbs Farm, a resort (the only appropriate word, if you ask me) aka eco-lodge where we would be spending the night before moving on to the Ngorongoro Crater. But honestly, there was just no such thing as making a “clean getaway” from Tarangire, because the wildlife would not be denied.