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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