Maasai Steppe | AWF

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Engaging communities so that wildlife can wander

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Maasai Steppe

Land

  • Quick Facts:

    Area

    2,224,410 hectares (8,588 sq. mi.)

  • Key Landmarks

    1. Tarangire National Park
    2. Lake Manyara National Park
    3. Simanjiro Plains

Overview

Baobab and acacia trees dot the savanna, and elephants and predators roam in the Maasai Steppe Landscape, which is home to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Habitat fragmentation is the biggest threat to wildlife in this landscape, and AWF is working with local communities to keep wild land open for animals in ways that still meet human needs.

Tags: East Africa, Tanzania

Challenges

Wildlife and cattle are not always compatible.

The Maasai Steppe Landscape’s celebrated elephants, wildebeest, zebras, buffalo, giraffes, and Thomson’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.

Solutions

Our solutions to the challenges in the Maasai Steppe Landscape:

  • 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 Landscape. 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.

Projects

Explore some of our related projects. 

  • Maasai Steppe Predator-Proof Bomas
    Ending human-carnivore conflict in Tanzania

    Lions face violence from local pastoralists. 

    Lion populations across Africa face many threats to their continued existence. Habitat loss, disease, and violence all...

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    All Projects

  • Manyara Ranch Tented Camp
    Bridging the gap between tourism and conservation

    A failing cattle ranch endangers local wildlife. 

    Originally established as a cattle ranch during Tanzania's colonial period, Manyara Ranch is now a 45,000-acre...

    Read more
    All Projects

  • Manyara Ranch IT Lab
    Connecting local communities to the World Wide Web

    Information accessibility is low in rural communities.

    Though computers may be a part of everyday life for many students in Western countries, computers—and the...

    Read more
    All Projects

  • Manyara Ranch Primary School
    Rebuilding educational facilities in Tanzania

    The Maasai School was dangerously dilapidated.

    The school formerly located on Manyara Ranch was dilapidated, having seen no physical maintenance or repair in more...

    Read more
    All Projects

  • Esilalei Women’s Cultural Boma
    Empowering women while encouraging conservation

    Poverty and conservation both are issues in Tanzania. 

    Tanzania, like many parts of Africa, still struggles with poverty and issues of economic empowerment. Women...

    Read more
    All Projects

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