Striving for sustainable wildlife management: The case of Kilombero Game Controlled Area, Tanzania

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London, UK: Academic Press


The sustainability of wildlife resources in Africa is threatened by poaching for trophies and meat as well as changes in land use. In order to motivate local people for sustainable wildlife management, efforts to transfer decision-making power as well as benefits from central to local level have been made in several countries. Such efforts have not yet been seen in Kilombero Game Controlled Area, which is the area covered by the present study. The paper documents the importance of wildlife to local people, explores local people's perceptions on wildlife management and identifies constraints to sustainable wildlife management. A total of 177 household interviews in 5 villages and 129 interviews of pupils in schools have been conducted. The majority of pupils reported that their latest meal of meat was from a wild animal, and the most common species was buffalo. Apart from availability of cheap wildlife meat, advantages from living close to wildlife include the use of various parts of animals for, e.g. medical and ritual uses, and various plant products from wildlife habitats. Disadvantages include damages to crops, predation on livestock, and injuries to humans. The estimated loss of yield due to raiding by wildlife amounted to 21.9 and 47.8% of the harvest of rice and maize, respectively. Traditional wildlife management in Kilombero includes few rules to avoid resource depletion, because depletion has traditionally not been a problem due to low hunting technology and low human population. Government management includes strict rules, with hunting quotas as the main instrument, but the government has failed to enforce the rules. Ongoing discussions on new approaches to wildlife management like co-management and community-based management were largely unknown to the villagers in the area. Both poaching and agricultural expansion threaten the sustainability of Kilombero Game Controlled Area. It is suggested that transfers of decision-making power and benefits to local people is necessary in order to achieve sustainable management.



Sustainability, Community management, Income generation, Environmental impacts, Livelihoods, Conservation, Habitat destruction, Natural resource management, Biodiversity conservation, Co-management, Community-based management, Crop damage by wildlife, Game controlled areas, Kilombero, Poaching, Tanzania, Ecosystem


Journal of Environmental Management 66(1): 31-42