Anti-poaching, Community Development, Research & GIS Mapping – Tanzania

FCF Leader Keith Roberts

Meet Keith, FCF’s General Manager in Tanzania! We asked Keith a few questions so that those not in the field with Keith can get to know him better:

Where are you from?
South Africa/East Africa

What was your professional experience before FCF?
Worked for government and non-profit organizations in wildlife management, anti-poaching and environmental education.

What is your current role with FCF?
General Manager

Where do you live?

What is your favorite thing about living in Tanzania?
Ability to walk in some truly wild areas where the opportunity to get lost is still a reality.

What is your greatest passion?
Exploring the intricacies of life.

What is your favorite animal?
Dung Beetle

Share a story with us about a FCF experience/patrol:
A small group of us pioneered anti-poaching patrols deep into the Moyowosi swamps using canoes and wading. On one of the early patrols, eight of us entered the swamps in three canoes. It was extremely tough going, yet despite the constant onslaught of mosquitoes and being chased by hippos, we still took time to appreciate the great beauty and diversity of this unique ecosystem. It wasn’t long before we encountered our first group of poachers. After a chase across the water, our fiberglass canoes easily out ran the poachers’ heavy hollowed out log canoe. Little did we know how bad the poaching was in the swamps and one arrest followed after the other. By the end of two days, we had a small problem on our hands – we had thirty poachers that we had apprehended, but only eight of us and our three canoes. I have found that a plan born out of necessity, especially when one is stuck in the middle of nowhere and heavily outnumbered, is a plan that will succeed.  Instead of sinking the confiscated canoes, we decided to incorporate them into our patrol. Before long, we had all thirtypoachers sitting in a flotilla of ten log canoes. Positioning an FCF canoe to lead the way, one in the middle and another as the tail-end Charlie, we slowly worked our way out of the swamps and to our temporary base.  From there, the poachers were ferried by vehicle to the nearest police station 80km away.

Which FCF project are you most excited about?
The potential for small scale renewable energy systems to address poverty in the communities surrounding protected areas.

What are your research interests?

  • The impact of climate change on the livelihoods of the rural communities surrounding protected areas and identifying mitigating measures that address the predicted increase of human pressures on these protected areas.
  • The role that renewable energy systems can play in poverty alleviation programs.
  • Developing “best practice” guidelines for the use of microlight/ultralight aircraft and drones/UAVs in anti-poaching and wildlife management projects.

Thanks for all your hard work Keith!

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