A new partnership formed between an international hotel chain and a village community outside Tanzania's Serengeti National Park assures that local people will share in the profits of wildlife-related businesses established in the area.
The landmark agreement, signed June 9, resolves a protracted legal battle between the South Africa-based Conservation Corps of Africa (CCA) and the Ololosokwan Village Community (OVC) over claims to 25,000 acres of land in the Loliondo buffer zone between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in Kenya.
The CCA bought land around a tourist facility called Kleins Camp in 1996 with the intention of running a safari business in the area, which is known for its abundant wildlife. The company's philosophy has been to develop environmentally friendly tourism enterprises that benefit local communities.
The Ololosokwan community owns most of the land and uses it for cattle grazing. In negotiating with the CCA, the OVC was assisted by AWF's Wildlife Enterprise Business Services center in brokering an agreement that would benefit business, communities and wildlife.
Under the agreement, the OVC will retain dry-season grazing rights and derive income, jobs, improved community services and other benefits. The CCA, with a 15-year lease, will have exclusive right to operate a lodge and conduct game drives on the land. A joint management committee will oversee land and natural-resource management and community projects.
The agreement yields one other notable bonus: It protects the Loliondo corridor used by thousands of stampeding wildebeest during their famed migrations between the Serengeti and the Mara.
"It amplifies the intricacy between wildlife conservation and economic and social development," says Moses Kanene, WEBS enterprise development specialist. "In Africa it is almost impossible to achieve one without the other. This new public-private partnership is a victory for community conservation."
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