Leopard in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania - photo by Andrea Pompele
Excerpt from the Arusha Manifesto by Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere in 1961:
“The survival of our wildlife is a matter of grave concern to all of us in Africa. These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a source of wonder and inspiration but are an integral part of our natural resources and of our future livelihood and well-being.
In accepting the trusteeship of our wildlife we solemnly declare that we will do everything in our power to make sure that our children’s grandchildren will be able to enjoy this rich and precious inheritace.
The conservation of wildlife and wild places calls for specialist knowledge, trained manpower and money, and we look to other nations to cooperate with us in this important task – the success or failure of which not only affects the continent of Africa but the rest of the world.”
Since these words were uttered, Tanzania has committed itself to extremely ambitious national targets for conservation, and has achieved them in both a quantitative and a qualitative sense.
Elephant in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania - photo by Ginny and Nick Farr
According to the latest IUCN figures (check out https://www.iucn.org/sites/dev/files/governance_workshop_tanzania_21_feb_2017.pdf) over 35.5% of Tanzania’s land mass and 13.5% of marine territories are covered in conservation areas. These amazing statistics have been achieved against great odds and with restricted budgets, and against the interests of international poachers and animal traffickers.
Female Greater kudu in Ruaha Naational Park, photo by Ginny and Nick Farr
There is a certain amount of indifference from the international community, who nevertheless feel they hold the right to condemn Tanzania for not protecting its world heritage effectively enough.
The country is in urgent need of help to combat the many negative factors that dedicated people on the ground are facing.
Zebra stallion in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania - photo by Rebecca Phillips
Countrywide self-awareness of Tanzania’s natural heritage, which includes the tallest mountain (Kilimanjaro, the largest lake (Victoria) as well as the longest and deepest lake (Tanganyika) in Africa, is growing rapidly though more work is needed to interact more with the villagers who live around the conservation areas, where there is often a clash between human and wildlife needs.
Still, today’s Tanzanians can be very proud to say that they have carried out the aims and wishes of its first President, Julius K Nyerere – a great and insightful man.
Golden evening at Mdonya Old River Camp in Ruaha - photo by Rebecca Phillips