Uneconomical game cropping in a community-based conservation project outside the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Since 1993 the Serengeti Regional Conservation Project (SRCP) in Tanzania has conducted a game cropping operation (the commercial utilization of wild animal populations in natural habitats) in areas immediately outside the Serengeti National Park to provide adjacent villages with incentives to abstain from illegal hunting. In this study, we carry out a comparative economic analysis of the SRCP cropping operation and illegal hunting. The extent of illegal hunting was mapped by utilizing questionnaires distributed to Village Game Scouts employed in five of the Project villages. Our research indicates that the cropping operation is not economically sustainable and makes only a minor economic contribution to the Project villages compared to illegal hunting. Furthermore, cropping quotas are small, utilization of quotas low, and the level of community involvement limited. Illegal hunting was extensive around both Project and other villages. We suggest that SRCP discard the inefficient cropping operation and instead concentrate on diversifying income opportunities for the Project villages.