Northern Tanzania’s big cat and African wild dog populations are declining due to human disturbances and livestock-carnivore conflict. Each of this project’s four target species faces unique threats in the region. For example, lions are particularly vulnerable to poisoning, while African wild dogs and cheetahs, with their naturally low-density populations and wide-ranging behaviour, have suffered due to habitat loss. While leopards are widely distributed across Africa and Asia, their population size is declining over much of their range due to human influence. Within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tarangire/Manyara landscapes, leopards are among the top three large carnivores implicated in livestock depredation, alongside lions and spotted hyenas.
While lions, cheetahs, leopards, and wild dogs are under threat in northern Tanzania, the pastoralist communities that live alongside them suffer considerable economic loss due to livestock depredation. The project addresses these issues with a holistic, collaborative approach focused on conserving large carnivores in partnership with local communities. Guided by an internationally recognized model of community-driven conservation, the project combines locally driven conflict reduction strategies, community learning and engagement, land management, and economic incentives to achieve strong conservation outcomes that benefit people and large carnivores alike. The programme operates in two landscapes where northern Tanzania’s big cats are the most threatened:
- The Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem and
- The Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
By working within and across these sites, the project enhances landscape connectivity for big cats while protecting more than 900 lions, 150 cheetahs, and abundant leopards (potentially in excess of 1,200) across approximately 30,000 km2.
Through a comprehensive suite of activities that address the key drivers of large carnivore decline in northern Tanzania - conflict, prey depletion, and habitat loss - the project team expects to achieve the following results by October 2021:
• Livestock-carnivore conflict reduced by 50% in the Tarangire-Manyara landscape.
• Livelihoods and habitat protection improved within Tarangire/Manyara target communities through the establishment of eco-friendly micro-enterprises by 100 women’s groups.
• Community rangeland management implemented across 15 communities of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tarangire/Manyara landscapes, resulting in greater habitat protection for carnivores, prey populations, and livestock.
• Increased youth engagement in large carnivore and habitat conservation via capacity building and environmental education initiatives in the Tarangire/Manyara target communities, reaching 2,000 youths.
This project is a part of the IUCN SOS African Wildlife initiative, which is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG Devco) through its B4Life initiative.