Host Organization Details
Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania
The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to assisting the Tanzanian government in conserving and protecting flora, fauna and the environment. The Wildlife Conservation Society has created over a 140 different projects that involve training, research, monitoring, institutional support, education, reforestation and planning.
Planning is an important part of this organization's goals as they have been major contributors in the planning process for a number of National Parks. These parks includes: Arusha National Park in 1962, Ruaha National Park in 1964, Tarangire National Park in 1968, Lake Manyara National Park 1989, and Kitulo National Park in 2002. At all national parks the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania completes research projects on endangered species, the impact that tourism has on the wildlife in Tanzania and about how the national parks are doing to ensure that illegal poaching or hunting is not occurring.
The reason why the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania is an important organization is because it's mission is to protect the vast number of large mammals, birds, fish and plants that can be found all over the country. Tanzania contains approximately 20 percent of Africa's large mammal population. Many are found in the 14 different National Parks. The National Park, conservation areas, marine parks and protected reserves consist of approximately 1/3 of the land in the entire country. As city boundaries continue to shift and people continue to illegally hunt endangered species many migration routes for animals have been destroyed and those that still remain are threatened.
The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania was founded in 1956 as a small group of people who wanted to help preserve the diverse ecosystems and wildlife that is found throughout Tanzania. The initial founders were concerned that if they did not start a program with the mandate to preserve the natural resources and biodiversity of their country the environmental impacts would be permanent.
With the dedication from this original group of volunteers the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania has grown to include 46 different branches located throughout the entire country. The BaseCamp Volunteer Abroad Program has partnered with the branch located in Arusha.
The challenges that the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania encounters when trying to implement some of their projects or initiatives are vast. The following are the primary challenges that this organization is trying to address while promoting conservation programs that focus on protection of endangered flora and fauna throughout Tanzania.
Poverty is a major factor in deforestation and the continuing decline of animals and plants within Tanzania. Because of the rare and exotic animals that are found in Tanzania there is a huge market for these species. For example, even though it is illegal to sell the tusks from an elephant there are still ways that they can be purchased at a high price if sold through the right channels. Due to the number of people in Tanzania that are dependent on subsistence agriculture and live well below the poverty lines hunting exotic animals is very tempting. Especially for hunters who used to rely on being able to hunt a wide variety of animals and now have many restrictions which as a result reduces their ability to generate an income. Even though the poaching of protected animals has decreased, it still happens, as poverty levels in some areas continue to increase. For example, in 1990, the illegal poaching and selling of specific animals was valued at approximately $50 million USD.
Unsustainable resource extraction should be included. When there is a major demand for a certain type of plant or animal many people decide to change hunting strategies towards that demand, to increase their income. However, if an animal or plant is extracted too quickly then problems will surely occur with the flora or fauna as they begin decreasing at a rapid pace.
Alongside poverty is education. Many people throughout the country do not have access to educational seminars or workshops that explain the importance of preserving the environment or the animals and plants that grow throughout their region. Although the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania have created a number of educational workshops and have been presenting them throughout the country they are finding that it is hard to really enforce the impact this issue will have on generations to come. This topic is especially difficult to address to tribal communities who have relied on hunting various animals for generations to ensure that they have food to eat. What the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania is now including in their workshops are alternative ways to make a living so that participants in these workshops may decide that there are different ways to produce an adequate income and not participate in illegal poaching. They have also included the animals that are not illegal to hunt to ensure that hunters know what animals they can still catch to sell or feed their families.
Another challenge that this organization must take into consideration while implementing their programs is the growing population, thus the growing pressures of development of the land. As the population is expected to grow by another 2.02 percent this year it means that more people will populate the land, therefore, the need to increase urban centres and rural communities will continue to occur. This puts pressure on various ecosystems, which can result in traditional migration routes for animals to be destroyed or threatened.
The other challenges this organization encounters when implementing their programs include governance issues, the need for more modern technology and access to financial resources so that they have enough money to continue to run the program in a successful and effective manner. To overcome these challenges and to continue to implement a number of environmental projects that throughout the country have had great success.
In the past five years, (WCST) was responsible for finding 12 new species in their country. One of the new species that they found is called the Kipunji Monkey. This monkey is only found in Africa and it is the first new species of monkey found since 1923. These findings are very helpful as it allows the organization to learn about each new species, collect data on each and help create conservation programs especially if the species is rare and could easily become extinct.
A few of the major accomplishments that the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania have achieved include: raising over thirty thousand dollars for biodiversity conservation. They have used these resources to hold more conservation workshops, complete a coastal forest conservation project in which they planted over two million tree seedlings, and also helped to save the important Kazimzumbwi Forest. In the Arusha branch they have regular workshops that are open to the public and to all members of the organization. The workshops focus on different environmental topics such as: pollution, industrialization, illegal hunting that is happening at that location, information about the different plants and animals in their area, especially the endangered species and how they can get involved in their protection. This grass-roots project invites members to learn more about plants and wildlife through educational seminars and field trips so they can become environmental enthusiasts and tell their family and friends what they are learning in regards to conservation efforts in their region. This initiative aims at inspiring the local community of Arusha to protect their beautiful region and it empowers their people to know the ways and means of doing so.
This organization was founded in 1956 in Dar Es Salaam, where their headquarters still remain. The Arusha region branch,(located beside the Natural History Museum of Tanzania), reopened in 2002 after 8 years of dormancy.
The branch was revived to revitalize WCST's efforts to achieve its mission in the northern part of the country and to respond to pressing conservation issues in the region as perceived by a growing number of past and present WCST members. The Arusha Branch is still in the process of revitalizing its memberships and activities in the region.
The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania is a nation wide organization that operates in 46 regions across Tanzania. The branch within the Arusha region has been in operation since 2002.
The Arusha branch of the WCST works mainly on environmental conservation. They are currently focusing on public awareness, with a campaign to share the importance of nature conservation through local schools. They also currently have a project in the Lake Natron area as to learn about the water quality and find out how many different species live in this lake,
Although their main focus is on environmental conservation, this organization also strives to support the fragile bird population in Tanzania, as they depend greatly on their environment to survive. Without the help of the WCST, many birds would be forced out of their natural environment, or even die due to forced relocation.
The other project that WCST is working on at the moment is a flamingo project. Arusha National Park has a large number of flamingos that migrate through the national park. The project they are working on is collecting data about the flamingos and rescuing any injured flamingos and nursing them back to health.
The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania is funded by DANIDA of Denmark, as well as, through membership contribution. The Arusha branch is given a yearly budget from The Wildlife Conservation Society for their administrative and project costs. In addition, the Arusha Branch is funded by private donations.
Your time, energy and your ideas are the best type of donation that you could give to this organization. Some volunteers like to bring a few donations to the organization they will be working at, however, this is in no way a requirement.
Types of donations that the Arusha branch would benefit from include: binoculars, bird and plant identification books for East Africa, a camera for documenting activities, office stationary, pens, pencils, rulers, compasses, paper, light rain jackets, hats, microscopes, used computers, geography sets, laminated maps of the world and/or Tanzania and Arusha, interesting books about the wildlife that is found in either Arusha or all of Tanzania would also be greatly appreciated.
In addition, the Arusha branch would really benefit any types of donations that would help with their educational seminars. This includes flip chart paper, markers, pens, paper, pencil crayons, crayons, sharpener, prizes for students during wildlife presentations, construction paper, rulers, large poster paper and notebooks.
Any of the donations above would be greatly appreciated!