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.
2,224,410 hectares (8,588 sq. mi.)
Baobab and acacia trees dot the savanna, and elephants and predators roam in the Maasai Steppe Heartland, which is home to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Habitat fragmentation is the biggest threat to wildlife in this Heartland, and AWF is working with local communities to keep wild land open for animals in ways that still meet human needs.
Wildlife and cattle are not always compatible.
The Maasai Steppe Heartland’s celebrated elephants, wildebeest, zebras, buffalo, giraffes, and Thompson’s gazelles cover vast areas of land to find food and water in different locations during different seasons. But, the wildlife corridor they use between Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks also hosts human communities. To earn income, people use this land and its resources for cattle grazing, farming, and charcoal burning—activities that degrade the land, block the animals’ paths, and put communities at risk for conflict with wildlife.
Our solutions to the challenges in the Maasai Steppe Heartland:
Reduce competition to raise profits.
With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), African Wildlife Foundation launched the Livestock for Livelihoods Program to protect the wildlife corridor that connects Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Livestock herders trained to use sustainable practices earn higher incomes because the price per head of their cattle has doubled. By allowing them to support themselves and their families by raising smaller herds, the program helps them avoid land competition with wildlife.
Allow women to weave the way forward.
To help local women benefit from wildlife tourism, AWF partnered with USAID to provide a banda for the Mshikamano Mwada Women’s Group. This small shop and office allows the group’s 30 members to sell their handwoven baskets and mats directly to tourists. AWF also provided trainings in marketing, design, and quality control to ensure the shop’s success. With income from woven products, the women don’t have to depend on unsustainable resource use for their livelihoods.
Provide education for conservation.
AWF upgraded a primary school for students living on and around Manyara Ranch Conservancy, a 44,000-acre conservation area in the Maasai Steppe Heartland. AWF constructed the new and improved Manyara Ranch Primary School in a different location—away from the wildlife corridor that used to bring animals into the schoolyard. In exchange, local communities have agreed to conserve land and wildlife in the area.
Explore some of our related projects.
Become a member
Join African Wildlife Foundation as a member for just $25. Your partnership is vital to our mission to protect Africa’s most precious - and imperiled - creatures.
Spread the word