Poaching remains one of the greatest threats to conservation in Africa. Combating poaching has therefore become a national and international priority. Field rangers (also known as game scouts or game guards) are the front line staff in the anti-poaching efforts. The field rangers are working to protect conservation areas according to established national and international law in the struggle to eliminate poaching.
A well-trained field ranger force is also one of the most effective strategies for ensuring that the integrity of any conservation area is maintained. African Field Ranger Training Services (AFRTS) was established in 2000 in South Africa to meet the growing demand for well-trained field rangers in conservation areas throughout Africa. The training program offered by AFRTS instills an understanding of basic ecological concepts, introduces techniques for involving communities in conservation, and provides instruction in practical methods of combating poaching and understanding applicable laws relative to the country they are working within.
FCF’s private anti-poaching rangers just completed a two-week comprehensive training program with AFRTS. Below are some images from the recent program.
In addition to the ranger leadership training with AFRTS, FCF’s rangers also recently underwent a three-day first aid course with in-house nurse Sam Roberts. Below are several images taken during this first aid course.
On 11 September 2010, the Friedkin Conservation Fund (“FCF”) Mobile Team,while working with Tanzania Wildlife Division (“Wildlife Division”), personnel encountered armed poachers in the Moyowosi Game Reserve. After an exchange of fire initiated by two suspects, FCF Ranger Mbayani Mollel and Wildlife Division Game Scout Kassam Mtambo were found to be injured. FCF Ranger Mollel was shot in the forearm and is expected to make a complete recovery. Wildlife Division Game Scout Mtambo was shot in the abdomen and sadly succumbed to his wounds on the afternoon of 12 September 2010. Both men received top-quality first aid attention and were evacuated to the Regional Hospital in Tabora by the Wildlife Division’s 206, where they were provided with emergency treatment.
The remainder of the team on the ground arrested one suspect and confiscated an AK-47. Acting on information, the FCF Mobile Team, Wildlife Division personnel and police units from the region have arrested an additional 4 suspects and have confiscated one additional firearm (also an AK-47) from nearby villages. The operation will continue for several more days.
We at FCF would like to extend our most sincere condolences to the family of Wildlife Division Game Scout Kassam Mtambo for their loss. Both the conservation and law enforcement communities will mourn his passing as he gave the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of his duties. May he rest in peace.
Moyowosi is located in the northwest part 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.
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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.