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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Ugalla Game Reserve is a low-lying, flat area located in central-western Tanzania. The Ugalla River runs through the area after which it is named, and the open flood plain alongside this ranges from one to six miles across. Away from the river, the area is characterized by open Miombo woodland. During the rains, much of the reserve is inaccessible due to extensive flooding, while in the dry season Ugalla forms a haven for much of the game from surrounding areas. The river stops flowing during the dry season but large pools remain throughout the year. These are home to hippo and crocodile, and provide year round water for elephant and other game such as sable, lion, topi, roan, wild dog and greater kudu.
FCF works with three districts around Ugalla Game Reserve to implement community projects that benefit those living along the reserve’s boundaries. These projects are designed in coordination with the villages, the district and the Wildlife Division and have included projects such as building secondary schools, training and assisting beekeeping groups and conducting environmental awareness trainings together with the District Natural Resources Officer.
Area-specific Project: Beekeeping Equipment
In an area where many villages depend on environmentally unsustainable activities to earn a living, communities bordering the game reserve place pressure on fragile ecosystems. These villages, by implementing eco-friendly income-generating alternatives, can instead become partners in conservation while at the same time improve their livelihoods. FCF helps income-generating groups around the game reserve to practice environmentally sustainable beekeeping and to produce pure, organic honey.
- $48 will buy one protective beekeeping kit
- $17 will build one modern, reusable beehive
- $760 will train a community in sustainable beekeeping practices
The Ugalla Game Reserve is characterized by two primary ecosystems: an extensive miombo woodland and large floodplains running along the reserve’s four rivers. Bushmeat poaching, especially of hippopotamus, is a concern for our two anti-poaching teams based in the reserve. Ivory poaching is also a problem. Ugalla is unique amongst Tanzania’s protected areas in that licensed honey gatherers and fishermen are allowed to enter the Reserve for six months of the year to harvest honey and fish. It takes a conscientious patrol commander to operate here as the relationship between the honey gatherers/fishermen and FCF can be unbalanced very easily if anti-poaching concerns are not handled in an appropriate manner.
Area-specific Project: Train a Patrol Commander
Anti-poaching commanders are based in the field and have the most contact with the communities bordering protected areas. For $1,800 one commander will receive a two-week training course in community-based conservation.
Together with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), FCF conducted a wet and dry season sample count of ungulates in Ugalla in 2007. This data will be analyzed and compared to data that FCF intends to gather in 2010, or every three years. In this way FCF will be able to analyze population trends in order to assist the management of the area. The Ugalla Game Reserve also has a seemingly healthy wild dog population, an important population for this threatened species. FCF assists the Tanzania Mammal Atlas Project with sightings and photographs of wild dogs. There are also healthy populations of sable and roan antelope and numerous rare water bird species including the shoebill stork and wattled crane.
Area-specific Project: Sponsor Flying Hours or a Whole Survey
The costs for an ungulate sample count in Ugalla Game Reserve can be assisted by purchasing one or more flying hours at $250/hour.
FCF is based in Arusha, Tanzania with our office staff comprising seven personnel and one representative based in the U.S. However, the backbone of our staff works in the field: along with two community development officers there are eighty-five anti-poaching staff across the fourteen concessions (nine million acres) in which FCF operates.
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