Project Description

Sustaining local support for elephant conservation near Ruaha, Tanzania

Tanzania
Focusing on nurturing co-existence, this project addresses the need to create a community
consensus for conservation. The Rungwa-Ruaha ecosystem contains the largest elephant
population in East Africa, despite ongoing threats that have reduced its numbers by 77% since
2009. Poaching represents the most immediate threat to the population and is driven by
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 elephant crop-raiding behavior.
Any effort aimed at protecting this critically important population in the midst of the current
poaching crisis must have the support of local people, who share the landscape with elephants
and are uniquely empowered to protect them. Residents of 23 villages bordering Ruaha National
Park will receive a comprehensive conservation education program designed to reach, and
meaningfully engage, nearly every person living in these communities. Classroom style
instruction will be coupled with community film nights and parks visitation tours so that locals
can learn about elephants and wildlife but also experience them in a non-adversarial
environment.