Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.
Wildlife knows no boundaries. So AWF has defined areas across the continent that are critical to conservation. These Priority Landscapes can cover public and private lands alike and often cross borders.
94,508,700 hectares (364,899 sq. mi.)
Black rhino, elephant, wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, hippopotamus, gazelle, lion, warthog, hyena, jackal, red colobus monkey, chimpanzee, baboon, hartebeest, elephant shrew, duiker
Savanna, tropical and subtropical forest, montane
From its stunning Indian Ocean beaches to the shores of Lake Victoria, from the arable plains of its central plateau to the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania is a jewel of East Africa. It is the biggest country in the region, formed in 1964 by the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Among Tanzania’s neighbors are Kenya to the north and Mozambique to the south, with multiple landlocked nations to its west relying on it for access to the coast.
Agriculture is Tanzania’s economic mainstay, employing four of five workers and accounting for 85% of its exports. The economy has been growing at about 6% each year since 2009, thanks to gold and other mineral production plus a healthy tourism industry.
Tanzania’s natural beauty and sheer density of plant and wildlife species make it a top destination for ecotourists. Almost a third of the country is protected, providing habitat for scores of species across 14 national parks. A fifth of Africa’s large mammals can be found within its borders, including lions, hippos, elephants, zebra, and wildebeest, whose mass migration through the Serengeti is a major draw for safaris.
As with other African nations, the majority of Tanzanians are forced to live off the land, which, in turn, compromises it. With trees often the only source for fuel, deforestation has led to soil erosion. That and overgrazing by livestock has led to desertification in some parts of the country. Subsistence farmers then venture closer to wildlife to find fertile land.
Clashes are inevitable. Elephants, zebras, and other species destroy crops. Distraught farmers resort to killing wildlife to protect their own livelihood. Individual conflicts like this pale in comparison to the massive wildebeest migration: Only 15% of this natural phenomenon occurs on protected land. As the herds move, predators follow and nomadic herders’ helpless livestock is caught in the middle.
Protection alone isn’t enough. Providing Tanzanians with sustainable ways to raise crops and livestock, as well as providing other economic opportunities, will not only take the stress off the land, it will avoid deadly run-ins with wildlife.
Two of African Wildlife Foundation's priority landscapes fall within Tanzania’s borders. From our Livestock to Livelihoods Program to establishing wildlife corridors, explore our work in this East African nation, and donate for a cause that helps the people of Tanzania, its wildlife, and its wild lands.
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