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A forest teeming with wildlife in Tanzania has been placed under protection, supported by the World Land Trust and other partners.
The Magombera Nature Reserve protects 6,425 acres of tropical forest. It’s managed by the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group. The land would otherwise been threatened by conversation to a sugar planatation.
The Magombera Forest is internationally recognised for its diverse landscapes and unique wildlife. It has African megafauna such as African Elephants and Hippos and it’s been identified as one of the top 20 Priority Prmate areas in Tanzania and up to now, it’s been the only one without protected status. It’s also got over 500 plant species with a number of rare and endemic trees.
It’s home to at least 5 primate species, including Udzungwa Red Colobus, found only in this valley and the neighbouring Udzungwa Mountains, Angolan Black and White Colobus, Sykes’s Monkey, Greater Bushbaby and Udzungwa Galago.
Local communities have shown strong support for the conservation of the Magombera Forest. It helps regulate climate, present flooding and maintains soil fertility for crops.
But villagers are benefiting from entrance fees paid by tourists to visit the forests.
The TFCG was able to buy 3,030 acres of the reserve from a sugar company, thanks to the joint support of the World Land Trust, Flamingo Land, Aage V.Jensen Charity Foundation and Rainforest Trust.
The other 3,395 acres belong to the Tanzanian government already and will now be protected as the Magombera Nature Reserve which is the highest level of protection available under the Tanzania Forest Service.
Back in 2008, it had been predicted that the forest understory be gone by 2018 if the rates of logging young straight trees had continued without intervention. There had been drastic deforestation since the 1950s – some 988,420 acres had been lost in the Kilombero Valley and the Magombera Forest was all that had remained.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy had much to celebrate at the end of 2018 so I thought I'd pick out two things which they are celebrating to tell you about :-)
The Conservancy is located at the foothills of Mount Kenya, and it works to protect and manage of species, initiate and support community conservation and development programmes, and educate neighbouring areas in the value of wildlife.
So here are a couple of successes Lewa had in 2018
17 Rhino Births and ZERO poaching
With their landscape partner Boran Conservancy, Lewa is now home to over 170 rhinos! They are looking forward to reaching the 200 rhino milestone!
The rhinos moved from Lewa to the Sera Community Conservancy are also thriving with rhino birds and no poaching.
The plan is to remove fences between Lewa, Borana and Il Ngwesi Community Conservancy so that there's a secure space for their growing population.
Increase in the survival rate of Grevy's zebra foals
Previoulsy, predation lessened the number of foals who survived into adulthood. This slowed population growth. The good rains in 2018 provided healthy pasture needed for the foals and other wildlife to survive and thrive. There are just 2,800 Grevy Zebra left in the world, and 11% are found on Lewa, so this increase is important.
Lewa has also been busy educating 400 Northern Kenya students, teaching them about land degradation and human-wildlife conflict and what they can do to address these challenges. In 2018, 400 students and their teachers visited Lewa and they received lessons on things such as reforestation, water harvesting and wildlife protection.
100 years ago, there were about 100,000 tigers across Asia. Today, there are just 4,000 and the tiger is officially classified a Endangered by the IUCN (that’s the International Union for Conservation of Nature).
Threats to tigers include
Poaching for body parts for traditional “medicine”
Habitat loss because of deforestation and development, which people are driving
Born Free have an initiative called Living with Tigers. It’s a network of Indian NGOs working across central India in the Satpuda area.
The network does a number of things, namely to:
Tackle the poaching crisis
Safeguard tiger habitats
Find compassionate solutions so that communities and wildlife can live together
There’s a dedicated teams of Tiger Ambassadors. These are local villagers who are trained to identify signs of tigers being present in their area and to help if conflict arises.
There’s also a Mobile Education Unit which teachers local school children about wildlife conservation.
So the good news for tiger conservation is....
Tiger numbers have increased to 500 across the Satpuda landscape in the last 10 years. This is great news but Born Free wants to go further. It wants to:
Safeguard wild tiger populations in central India
Work with more local communities to reduce human-wildlife conflict
Create more protected areas so that wildlife can flourish
Educate more people on the importance of conservation and approaches to co-existence.