Wildlife Management Areas
FZS provides technical assistance to enable local communities to play a central role in ecosystem conservation and management through Community-Based Natural Resource Management institutions including Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
From 2006 to 2010, FZS together with government conservation partners, helped facilitate the establishment of two Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) around the Serengeti Ecosystem: Makao and Ikona, through a project co-financed by European Union (EU). To date, both Ikona and Makao WMAs have been successful in registration, gazettement and also attracting investors to their areas. However, this success also comes with a price: the challenge in ensuring equitable sharing of benefits among stakeholders. To address this issue, FZS is again partnering with government institutions through an EU co-financed project aimed at improving management capacity and accountability mechanisms among stakeholders within these WMAs as well as improving cost-benefit sharing from conservation towards local communities. FZS is also supporting local Village Game Scouts (VGS) in protecting and monitoring natural resources of the WMAs by providing training and equipment.
What is a Wildlife Management Area (WMA)?
Local communities have often been marginalized from the decision-making process in natural resource management and receive an inequitable share of ecosystem benefits. The Tanzanian Wildlife Act of 1998 addresses this shortcoming through the establishment of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Community-managed areas should contribute to the livelihoods of participating communities, build community empowerment and, fundamentally, represent a buffer zone to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. By protecting the wildlife and sustainably managing the environment on their WMA, communities are able to attract tourism activities and generate revenues while ensuring conservation of natural resources. Revenues accrued from the WMA are divided among the member villages for purpose of maintaining natural resources and contributing to economic development. Income generated by the WMAs contributes to building incentives for communities to protect wildlife and natural resources in the long-term.
Ikona WMA covers 242 km2 and is comprised of 5 villages to the northwest of Serengeti National Park. The WMA was established in 2006, with the goal of divesting management authority of wildlife in an area outside of the National Park and Game Reserves to local communities. FZS has assisted in the WMA process from its inception has been facilitating the WMA with capacity building, natural resource management, infrastructure development, and technical expertise. Today Ikona leads all WMAs in Tanzania in revenue generation. Through co-finaning from the European Union, FZS is working with local partners to ensure transparent and equitable benefit-sharing and building capacity for good governance.