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USAID/Tanzania engages with rural communities, the Government of Tanzania, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to protect the country’s rich biodiversity and unique species. However, with over 85 percent of rural Tanzanians relying on natural resources for their livelihoods, factors such as population growth, environmental mismanagement, climate change, and commercial expansion pose threats to Tanzania’s biodiversity. The effects are particularly profound in areas such as national parks and preserves, where human activity has contributed to a decline in habitat area, habitat quality, and wildlife populations. Without improved poverty reduction, government policies, and regulatory enforcement, many poor rural communities will have few options other than poaching wildlife, exploiting timber resources, and converting critical habitats to agricultural land.
In order to support the long-term viability of Tanzania’s wildlife and natural resources, USAID focuses on landscape-level biodiversity conservation efforts to improve community livelihoods and promote economic growth. This includes expanding the amount of land under improved natural resource management, as well as partnering with villages and rural residents to increase household incomes while self-governing the sustainable use of natural resources in their immediate surroundings. Efforts to preserve biodiversity also account for climate change by assessing landscape vulnerability in select regions, ultimately improving awareness of adaptation techniques that will protect habitats.
Combatting Wildlife Crime
Wildlife crime—including the poaching of keystone species and illegal trade of products like ivory—poses a serious threat to Tanzania’s biodiversity. USAID works with the Government of Tanzania to stop wildlife crime at the source by strengthening management of protected areas, improving monitoring and patrol systems, and empowering communities to take a leading role in conservation. By collaborating with law enforcement agencies, USAID has taken steps to strengthen evidence handling and case prosecution for wildlife crime investigations, in addition to supporting canine detection units aimed at preventing the flow of products such as ivory through ports and airports. At the policy level, USAID supports legislative measures to combat poaching and trafficking, increased judicial efficiency, and improved cooperation between government and civil society in eradicating illegal use of wildlife.
Last updated: December 27, 2016