Moyowosi Game Reserve, Makere North & South Forest Reserves and Uvinza Open Area
These protected areas are located in the northwest of the country, close to the border with Burundi. The habitat of these reserves varies from huge swamps to open flood plains, which adjoin large areas of Miombo forest. Game density in the Moyowosi is relatively high, with good populations of lion, leopard, buffalo, crocodile, topi and Lichtenstein hartebeest. Sitatunga are present in the Moyowosi Swamp, which is characterized by tall palm trees and islands formed by termite mounds. The swamp is an important wetland habitat for rare water birds including the wattled crane and the shoebill stork.
Traveling between the villages bordering these four protected areas can be a matter of days – even weeks – in the rainy season. The FCF Community Development Field Officer for this area does not let this deter him, traveling by bicycle if need be to reach the remotest of villages. FCF meets with Village Environmental Committees to discuss the importance of conservation. Through close communication and careful cooperation, FCF has implemented a series of successful conservation projects with the communities in this area. Examples of these are a village fish farming initiative in Kibondo, a women’s beekeeping cooperative in Kifura, natural spring reinforcement in Kasanda, and a secondary-school tree nursery to grow indigenous trees for reforestation in Makere.
Area-specific Project Replant Trees
Illegal charcoal production and poached timber are responsible for the deforestation of up to 1.7 million acres of Tanzania’s woodland every year. This destroys species diversity, degrades the soil and exacerbates poverty. FCF is working to replant tree seedlings to bring prosperity and fight soil degradation, erosion and loss of biodiversity. $50 will plant 50 seedlings.
The largest area FCF is responsible for, the combined area of the Moyowosi, Makere and Uvinza reserves is 3,023,000 acres. We have three rapid action teams and one village game scout team based here. Annually they, along with Government Game Scouts, arrest in the region of 1,000 poachers. Elephant poaching, illegal fishing, illegal entry of domestic livestock, timber poaching and bushmeat hunting are commonly encountered in these areas. One of FCF’s microlights is based in the area and has proven itself to be very effective in streamlining our anti-poaching efforts in a huge chunk of western Tanzania.
Area-specific Project: Shelter an Anti-poaching Team
The provision of adequate shelter for our rangers on the ground is a top priority when outfitting teams for the bush. $150 will pay for the purchase and shipping of one two-person tent and $450 will purchase and ship tents for a full anti-poaching unit.
The Moyowosi Game Reserve, Makere North & South Forest Reserves and Uvinza Open Area are part of a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance (the Malagarasi-Moyowosi Ramsar site). This is an important, vast and complex riverine floodplain wetland in northwest Tanzania, one of the largest and most important wetlands in East Africa. The basin has five main rivers: the Malagarasi, Moyowosi, Kigosi, Gombe, and Ugalla. The Moyowosi Game Reserve includes a permanent papyrus swamp, large peripheral floodplains that fluctuate widely on a yearly basis, and is surrounded by very extensive miombo woodlands and wooded grasslands including the Makere Forest Reserves and parts of Uvinza Open Area. The site is extremely important for large mammals, migratory and resident water birds, fish and plants. FCF propose regular sample surveys for large mammals and specific surveys for buffalo and other species in their program and are also working in collaboration with the Tanzania Mammal Atlas Project/WCS to conduct camera trapping surveys in the area.
Area-specific Project: Camera Trapping Survey
FCF and the Tanzania Mammal Atlas Project hope to conduct a number of camera trapping surveys in the Moyowosi swamps and surrounding areas to establish biodiversity inventories. The operational costs of each survey are approximately $6,000 per survey, and any contribution to these surveys would assist in continuing this program.
The objective of the Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) clinics project was to improve the care and treatment for patients at Uvinza Clinic by providing a solar power system and other important medical technologies. The clinic has significantly improved its services as a result of the project.
According to Hamisa Kambi the head nurse, the most important improvement has been lighting and patient beds which has allowed for 24 hour health care.
Unfortunately, the solar system has had some problems which require fairly expensive maintenance and replacement of components. We are currently looking into having a good solar technician assess the needs of the system before we look for ways to restore the system to full capacity.
It was encouraging to see the efforts of the student environmental groups in establishing tree nurseries and planting trees. Overall, the project is proving to be successful in getting students involved in environmental activities and in planting trees on their campuses and at home.
The project has had varying levels of success in different schools depending on the level of student motivation and the responsiveness of the teachers to get involved and help oversee ad guide the student initiative.
Over 50,000 trees have been transplanted in the first phase of planting over 30 schools since the project started in November 2010. We are continuing to follow-up with the school groups and will continue to offer support to strengthen the initiative and maintain the momentum.
Located in the Masai Steppe, Lake Natron Game Controlled Area abuts onto the Kenya border. Situated to the south of this area is Monduli Open Area, marked by Monduli Mountains with its Forest Reserve and the plains below extending into the Rift Valley. Both areas are dispersed with flat-topped acacia trees, broken every few miles by mountains, hills and scenic sand rivers, which are visited by elephants, giraffe and cheetah. Mount Gelai and Monduli Mountain are both covered by dense montane forest, while Lake Natron, a soda lake at the foot of Mount Lengai, the holy mountain of the Masai, attracts an abundance of bird life with thousands of flamingos.
The Lake Natron and Monduli concessions are unique from the community perspective in that both are located on village land, rather than on game reserves (from which human settlement is prohibited). This situation creates an extremely close relationship between the communities and the wildlife resources. FCF works closely with the villages to educate them about the benefits of sustainable wildlife and natural resource use. Each year the villages receive a detailed description of the community funds generated through hunting and photographic safaris that year and they decide how these funds should be allocated to best serve the village interests. In the past these funds have gone towards rehabilitating water sources, funding secondary school education for indigent students and constructing primary and secondary schools.
Area-specific Project: Sponsor a Student
In Tanzania only 3% of secondary school aged girls and 4% of boys are enrolled in secondary education. A secondary education will open up a host of income generating opportunities for a student and enable them to escape dependence on illegal natural resource use. One student can be sponsored to attend one year of secondary school for $265.
The Lake Natron and Monduli concessions are also unique in an anti-poaching sense in that they are located on village land. It takes an effective patrol commander to operate in these areas as the positive relationship between the villages and FCF can be unbalanced very easily if anti-poaching concerns are not handled in an appropriate manner. Charcoal poaching is a big problem in these areas and with the continuing growth of nearby Arusha city there will be a constant demand for this fuel source. The illegal skin trade, especially in zebra skins, targets these areas heavily. Resident hunters also use these areas during the hunting season, but only if properly licensed.
Area-specific Project: Anti-poaching Flying Time
Our light aircraft, the Maule, regularly patrols Natron and Monduli, giving our anti-poaching patrol teams on the ground invaluable support from the air. $250 will pay for the operational costs of one hour of flying time.
Lake Natron is an exceptional natural area, one of only two natural soda lakes in the Rift Valley. It is also internationally recognized as a Ramsar International Wetland of Importance, being the only regular breeding ground for the Lesser Flamingo in East Africa, as well as supporting over an estimated 100,000 individuals of other waterbird species, many of which are Palearctic migrants. FCF conducts work from the eastern shore of Lake Natron all the way to Longido and on surrounding Monduli Mountain. FCF and the Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) are studying key species in the Natron and Monduli areas, in particular the fringe-eared oryx, the lesser kudu and the gerenuk. Lesser kudu and gerenuk have been surveyed using a modified road strip methodology in 2007. In order to survey the oryx FCF have proposed a modified aerial total count, specific to this cryptic species.
In November 2005, November 2006 and March 2008, FCF played a major role in assisting Dr Alfred Kikoti, a respected elephant researcher based in northern Tanzania. Kikoti placed satellite collars on fourteen elephants and monitors their movements to determine wildlife corridors outside the protected area network, as well as assisting the local communities in human-elephant conflict. Future activities for his project include population surveys and deployment and redeployment of satellite collars.
Area-specific Project: Sponsor Flying Hours or a Whole Survey
- Total aerial count for fringe-eared oryx in Natron: 12 hours
- Total aerial count for elephant in Natron, Monduli and northern Tanzania: 36 hours
- Assistance to deploy satellite collars on elephants in the Natron and Monduli areas: 10 hours
The above surveys can be assisted by purchasing one or more flying hours at $250/hour.
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On 1 February 2010, the FCF anti-poaching division welcomed Mr. Ruben de Kock and Mr. Theo Landman of the African Field Ranger Training Services (AFRTS) to our Lake Natron concession. Ruben and Theo were called upon to put our anti-poaching field staff through a rigorous selection course and evaluation, followed by a basic field training course. Of the 76 rangers who were put thru their paces (4 additional rangers were excused due to injury/illness) just twenty men passed the selection stage. While this may appear to be a high attrition rate, we view it as an indication of the overall quality of our ranger corps. It is our sincere hope that these 20 men will be the foundation upon which we build the anti-poaching program in the years to come.
An additional 40 rangers were invited back (on probation) to attend the training course, which covered topics such as the role of the field ranger, patrol techniques, observation points, listening points, distance sighting, orders, patrol planning, aspects of Tanzanian wildlife law, arrest procedures, self-defense and minimum force techniques. In the near future we will conduct another selection course and evaluation in order to build our numbers back to the desired eighty personnel.
We at FCF would like to thank Ruben and Theo and the AFRTS for helping us establish a new ethos and standard by which our anti-poaching field staff will be measured by. It is our expectation that this will in turn result in a higher level of efficacy in our fight against poaching in Tanzania.
FCF patrol commanders attended a 2-day (14 hour) first aid training course conducted by Samantha Roberts on the 15th and 16th of February. Areas that were covered include:
- Artificial respiration
- Cardiac resuscitation
- Wound management
- Bandaging, splinting and immobilization techniques
- Heat related illnesses
- Snake bites
Instructor Sam Roberts said that she “found the commanders as a whole to be calm and well organized with all aspects of the training”. Due to the potentially dangerous nature of anti-poaching work, training such as this will prove invaluable and could realistically save a life.
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