Generating support for elephant conservation among local people near Ruaha, Tanzania

The Rungwa-Ruaha ecosystem contains the largest elephant population in East Africa, despite poaching that has reduced elephant numbers by 77% since 2009. Poaching is driven by the international demand for ivory, but it is supported and sustained by local people, most of whom are poor farmers whose livelihoods are put at continuous risk by elephants’ crop-raiding. Any effort to protect elephants must have the support of local people who share the land with elephants. Residents of 22 villages bordering Ruaha National Park received a comprehensive conservation education program designed to reach and meaningfully engage nearly every person living in these communities. Classroom style instruction was coupled with community film nights and parks visitation trips so that locals learned about elephants and wildlife but also experienced them in a non-adversarial environment.

IEF #AF1015

Project Years: 2016 – 2020

Project Partners:
Mountains and Plains Institute for Lifelong Learning and Service