When humans and wildlife fight over land, no one wins.
As with other African nations, the majority of Tanzanians are forced to live off of the land, which, in turn, compromises it. With trees often the only source for fuel, deforestation has led to soil erosion. Overgrazing by livestock has led to desertification in some parts of the country forcing subsistence farmers to 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 livelihoods. The increase in retaliatory killings of elephants ultimately reduces the tolerance of the local communities towards wildlife and even turns some into willing international poaching syndicates. Individual conflicts like this pale in comparison to the massive wildebeest migration: As the herds move, predators follow and nomadic herders’ helpless livestock is caught in the middle. New development interrupts this iconic migration.
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.
Wildlife crimes have reached unprecedented rates, threatening the existence of Tanzania’s iconic wildlife.
The Tsavo-Mkomazi landscape is a critical stronghold for elephants. With its porous border, this landscape is both a source of illegal wildlife products and a place of transit for contraband en route to Mombasa seaport in Kenya — one of the major ports of exit for ivory in Africa.