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In Tanzania, closeness to nature cuts both ways

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  • Manyara Ranch Primary School  Craig R Sholley
  • Manyara Ranch Primary School Billy Dodson
  • Manyara Ranch Primary School Craig R Sholley
  • Manyara Ranch Primary School Billy Dodson
  • Rungwe Avocado Company Caroline Schmidt
  • Rungwe Avocado Company Caroline Schmidt
  • Rungwe Avocado Company Caroline Schmidt
  • Rungwe Avocado Company Caroline Schmidt
  • Esilalei Women's Cultural Boma Mohamed Hashim

A third of Tanzania is protected.

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.




When humans and wildlife fight over land, no one wins.

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.



Will you show Tanzania your support?

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.

  • Rungwe Avocado Company Caroline Schmidt
    Rungwe Avocado Company
    Environmentally sustainable agriculture in Tanzania

    The southern highlands of Tanzania are an invaluable ecosystem—but may also prove fertile grounds for agriculture.

    This region features the largest and most important...

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    All Projects

  • Esilalei Cultural Boma Mohammed Hashim
    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...

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    All Projects

  • Kolo Hills John Salehe
    Kolo Hills REDD+
    Food security in the face of climate change in Central Tanzania

    Drastic measures must be taken to mitigate climate change in Africa. 

    In Africa, achieving long-term conservation requires the often-competing demands of wildlife...

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    All Projects

  • Maasa Steppe Predator Proof Boma Christina Van Winkle
    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...

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    All Projects

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