Wildlife Ecology & Community Conservation Management -- Tanzania

January 2 - 14, 2017


​Join Wildtrax Explorations in Tanzania and experience wildlife conservation management as you visit some of the world's most inspiring natural areas and partake in research!

1. Mt Kilimanjaro 
Kilimanjaro is in the Universities back yard! Kili, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is a dormant volcanic mountain in Park Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. At the heart of the park is the 5,896 meters or 19,341 feet Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and one of the continent’s magnificent sights. It’s also one of the highest volcanoes and among the highest freestanding mountains in the world, rising from cultivated farmlands on the lower levels, through lush rainforest to alpine meadows, and finally across a barren lunar landscape to the twin summits of Kibo and Mawenzi. The lower rainforest is home to many animals, including buffaloes, leopards and monkeys, and elands are occasionally seen in the saddle area between Kibo and Mawenzi peaks.

2. Tarangire National Park
Size: Approximately 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 square miles.) 
Location: 118 km (75 miles) southwest of Arusha
​Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania and where you come to see elephants! The national park is located in Manyara Region. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses through the park, being the only source of water for wild animals during dry seasons. During the dry season thousands of animals migrate to the Tarangire National Park from Manyara National Park.The landscape and vegetation is incredibly diverse with a mix that is not found anywhere else in the northern safari circuit. The hilly landscape is dotted with vast numbers of Baobab trees, dense bush and high grasses.The park is famous for its huge number of elephants, baobab trees and tree climbing lions. Visitors to the park can expect to see any number of resident zebra and wildebeest in addition to the less common animals. Other common animals include waterbuck and giraffe.Home to more than 550 species, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts who can expect so see dozens of species even in the dry season. The swamps are the focus of the largest selection of breeding birds anywhere in the world. 

Wildtrax Explorations presents students with a hands-on experience in the conservation of natural and cultural resources across wilderness, rural, and urban regions of Tanzania.  Students will receive lectures throughout the expedition and participate in selected projects that reflect the multifaceted demands facing conservationists in Africa.  

The diverse courses provide the foundation concerning the interface of ecology and wildlife management. Scientific principles and human dimensions are used to explain current strategies and techniques for managing natural and cultural resources.  Our curriculum focuses on how changes in land use and resource availability in Tanzanian ecosystems can be managed to assist local communities while conserving biodiversity. Experiencing the socio-political and ecological variables in Tanzania will yield an understanding of culture and life that is vital to successful conservation efforts. 


Locations Of Interest


Wildtrax has organized an education program that offers the experience necessary for molding students in conservation science.  The safari lecture series will provide the foundation for cultural perceptions, conservation obstacles, wildlife dispersal areas, and biodiversity conservation.  Students will have numerous opportunities to see their lessons in action as they visit some of the world’s most famous wildlife areas. Interacting with scientists and community leaders will reveal the real life situations of people who work and live in areas where conservation projects occur. Being a part of  wildlife monitoring research project and collecting their own data for mini projects, will equip student with the skills they need for a future in conservation.


HOW TWO WEEKS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!


  • Explore the most famous wilderness areas in the world: Terengeri National Park, the Great Serengeti Ecosystem, Ngorongoro Crater and many more! 
  • Meet leading wildlife and conservation biologists conducting active research...make the connections that will shape your career! 
  • Interact with diverse indigenous cultures and learn about human-wildlife conservation issues. 
  • Camp under a ceiling of stars as Tanzania’s wildlife roam around your tent!
  • Conduct meaningful and applicable research and become a skilled field researcher
  • Explore habitats and cultures that have remained unchanged for thousands of years 
  • Develop the skills needed for tomorrow’s conservation leaders 
  • All of this while earning credit towards your degree!


Learning Objectives
The overall objectives of the course are to equip students with adequate knowledge of various biodiversity monitoring methodologies and conservation and management issues throughout Africa. An emphasis will be placed on the human-wildlife interactions and developmental strategies.

The learning OBJECTIVES of the course are to:

  • Teach valuable wildlife management and conservation principles
  • Exemplify the challenges facing wildlife conservation
  • Foster interactions with professional wildlife managers and conservation biologists
  • Examine community & natural resource development strategies
  • Reveal the ecological organization & biodiversity of different ecosystems 


The GOALS of our comprehensive program are to:

  • Train future generations of wildlife conservationists, managers &researchers.
  • Equip students with diverse skills needed for a career in conservation science
  • Prepare today’s students to deliver a better tomorrow for people and wildlife


General Itinerary 
Wildtrax has developed a program that incorporates a multidisciplinary approach involving lessons from sociology, ecology, economy, and animal sciences.The learning environment will include renowned parks such as Tarangire National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.  Students will interact with local communities to gain an understanding of how humans impact plant and animal resources.  We will visit the four distinct wildlife management areas to show students how the various land use strategies are implemented.  

Sights visited throughout the Learning Safari 

  • Tarangire National Park (1 day) – encounter huge herds of elephants and tree climbing lions 
  • Ngorongoro Crater (1 day) – explore the largest intact caldera in the world 
  • Lake Natron (1 day) – Enjoy the pink at THE breeding ground for all of the lesser and greater flamingos of East Africa


General Lecture Topics throughout your journey 

  • Wildlife ecology & ecological interactions 
  • African wildlife conservation management
  • Ecosystem health (disease ecology, zoonosis & public health) 
  • Conservation strategies
  • Community natural resource management & development
  • Human-wildlife interactions 


There will be field assignments that provide students the opportunity to analyze and discuss issues concerning environmental land use, community livelihood in these differing ecosystems and large mammal ecology. Students will also examine the wildlife conservation management philosophy and its evolution and application in real world situations.

The trips to wildlife areas and villages offer extraordinary opportunities for students to learn the core requirements for the management of natural and cultural resources in the Tanzania.

Field Research Experience (8 days)

How do you manage 12,600 acres of land that neighbors one of the world’s most famous national parks?

First, you start by finding out who’s home!

Enashiva Nature Refuge neighbors the Serengeti National Park where some of the continent’s best wildlife viewing takes place!  Enashiva is 12, 600 acres of privately owned wilderness that has recently (2006) been protected by its conservation minded owners. Understanding the biodiversity of natural resources is a priority for managing Enashiva.   Wildtrax Explorations has developed a biodiversity monitoring program that delivers the data necessary for successful management of Enashiva’s natural resources.  Our program documents the variety of species and habitats that are found at Enashiva.  The refuge is in a stage of ecological transition as it converts from grazing lands to a conservation easement.  As Enashiva undergoes natural changes, the species inhabiting the refuge will also change. A biodiversity monitoring program is the foundation of understanding how the land is used by wildlife.

A successful management strategy relies on accurate observations of the different flora and fauna on the property.  We will use transects, surveys and GPS to determine species occurrence and habitat use throughout Enashiva.  These data will be used by the land managers to develop a comprehensive strategy for conserving the refuge’s diversity of natural resources.

Wildtrax Explorations is eager to involve students in the implementation of the biodiversity monitoring program at Enashiva.  
Students will have the opportunity to contribute REAL data for the management of the refuge. They will learn how to use GPS, navigational tools and species identification techniques to conduct transects for large mammals and create giraffe identikits. Data collection and analyses procedures will be used to assess ecological variables, such as species richness, abundance, and population size. This data will be used for the management of numerous migrant and resident mammal species. 

This unique experience offers students the opportunity to gain practical skills that will enhance their understanding of how natural resources are conserved and managed. In addition to the data collection, there will be opportunities for experiential learning through field trips and classroom style presentations. Topics of instruction range from community-based conservation strategies to natural resources management. The diverse presentations provide the foundation concerning the interface of ecology and wildlife management. 

Scientific principles and human dimensions are used to explain current strategies and techniques for managing natural and cultural resources. Our curriculum focuses on how changes in land-use and resource availability in Tanzanian ecosystems can be managed to assist local communities while conserving biodiversity. Students will be able to see topics first-hand during their everyday activities.

Students will be involved with:

  • Assess the species richness and abundance of mammals, birds & vegetation for the bi-annual survey that happens in January (wet season) and July (dry season) of each year.
  • Record the demographics and habitat-use of predators and ungulates
  • Collect majority of data through daily WALKING transect surveys. This is an incredible experience that most do not have the privilege of doing through the wilderness of Tanzania. Interact with the local Maasai tribes on a daily basis 
  • Contribute to the long-term management of a conservation region

​3. Simanjiro - Maasai Land
​The Simanjiro Conservation Easement is a novel payment for ecosystem services scheme in the Simanjiro Plains of Tanzania, an important wet-season grazing area between Tarangire National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro. 
This contractual agreement between individual villages and a consortium of tourism vendors obligates local residents to forgo agricultural activities in some areas in return for annual cash payments of 5 million Tanzanian shillings (US$3000 as of January 2013) per village.
​It is significant because it is among the first payment for ecosystem services (PES) projects to exclude the involvement of government conservation agencies. 
Expanding crop production had come in conflict with wildlife for some time, leading the regional government to try to restrict cultivation in the plains.The scheme started with Terrat in 2004 and 2005. The village of Sukuro joined later.
Terrat is a village of some 3 500 people involved mainly in pastoral activities in northern Tanzania. In 2004, a group of five tourism operators entered into a PES type agreement with the community, with villagers helping conserve wildlife in exchange for annual financial payments. The Wildlife Conservation Society separately agreed to fund four village scouts to carry out wildlife monitoring and other activities.

4. Lake Eyasi—Hadzabe Bushman
​It is almost impossible to spend time with traditional hunter gatherer tribes and not affect the way they live. In Northern Tanzania, the Hadzabe, one of the last and most remote of the Bushmen tribes, still lives in the dry woodlands of remote Lake Eyasi. They live today as they have lived for thousands of years; hunting for game with bows and arrows made from giraffe tendons, gathering honey from the beautiful African baobab trees, and digging for roots and tubers from deep within the arid ground of the acacia bush land.Hadzabe bushmen’s language resembles the click languages of other bushmen further south in the Kalahari. Their small population was seriously threatened, in particular during the period when Julius Nyere tried to introduce his Ujuma policy. The tribe resisted the forcible settlement policies of Julius Nyere and nowadays most of their children have never seen a doctor or school - the bush provides for all their needs and is a class room for their offspring.
They are often willing for visitors to come and see their simple bush homes where the tree canopy alone or a cave provides them with shelter. They live entirely off the bush and from hunting, generally small antelopes and baboons, although in rainy seasons gazelles and antelopes come down from the Ngorongoro or Serengeti to their then lush bush lands offering them richer pickings. The string on their lethal bows is made from giraffe tendons and the arrows are coated with a strong poison made from another tree. The commiphora tree provides excellent firewood which they kindle by rubbing wood, a green commiphora provides a mosquito-repelling sap, juice squeezed out of the sansaveria provides a cure for snake bites while aloe is used to heal cuts. Roots provide a wide range of medicines and the mighty baobab fruits as a source of drink. A few hours spent with the bushmen makes the apparently unhospitable bush country come to life and to watch them hunt a unique experience as they stealthily spot then creep up on their prey skillfully killing it.


5. Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Size: Approximately 8,288 km² (3,200 sq miles)
Location: 190 km (118 miles) West of Arusha
​The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the three divisions that comprise Ngorongoro District in Arusha Region. NCA was established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, designated to promote the conservation of natural resources, safeguard the interests of NCA indigenous residents and promote tourism. NCA is a unique protected area in the whole of Africa where conservation of natural resources in integrated with human development.
The main feature of the NCA include the Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti Plains that support about 2.0 millions migratory wildlife species of the Serengeti Mara-ecosystem and the catchment forest; the Northern Highland Forest Reserve (NHFR) known as ‘Entim Olturot’ in Maa language. Other important features found in the NCA are the archaeological and paleontological site located at Oldupai Gorge and the early human foot-prints that were discovered at Alaitole in Ngarusi area. Because of these particular features and the harmonious co-existence between wildlife and people that has existed for many years, NCA was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site and listed as one of the International Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Program. 

6. Serengeti
Size: 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq miles).
Location: 335km (208 miles) from Arusha, stretching north to Kenya and bordering Lake Victoria to the west.
​Tanzania's oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when some six million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson's gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa: great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle.
The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park. Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers. Solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River, while a high density of cheetahs prowls the southeastern plains. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat.
​But there is more to Serengeti than large mammals. Gaudy agama lizards and rock hyraxes scuffle around the surfaces of the park’s isolated granite koppies. A full 100 varieties of dung beetle have been recorded, as have 500-plus bird species, ranging from the outsized ostrich and bizarre secretary bird of the open grassland, to the black eagles that soar effortlessly above the Lobo Hills. As enduring as the game-viewing is the liberating sense of space that characterizes the Serengeti Plains, stretching across sunburnt savannah to a shimmering golden horizon at the end of the earth. Yet, after the rains, this golden expanse of grass is transformed into an endless green carpet flecked with wildflowers. And there are also wooded hills and towering termite mounds, rivers lined with fig trees and acacia woodland stained orange by dust.

7. Lake Natron 
Wild and remote, Lake Natron lies in the northeast of Tanzania in between the Ngorongoro Highlands and Serengeti plains. Situated at the base of Africa's only active volcano Ol' doinyo Lengai (Mountain of God)….prepare, you will hiking to the top of this volcano!
​At the lowest point of the Rift valley in East Africa sits this shallow soda lake. Volcanic activity releases Sodium Carbonate (Soda) which is washed down to this lake where evaporation causes high concentrations. Lake Natron is one of the most alkaline lakes in the world. Home to millions of tiny crustaceans, the lake is a haven for literally thousands of lesser flamingo's and it is one of the most important flamingo breeding grounds on earth. Every evening thousands of pink flamingos fly overhead, exposing the deep garnet feathers under their wings.


COSTS


Included: Pick-up & drop off at airport, in country orientation, accommodation, 3 meals a day, Mweka College tuition, transportation, all park fees, village fees, all tourist activities mentioned, research and monitoring activities and training.  ​ 

Excluded: All travel & flight costs to Arusha, Tanzania, are for students to cover. Luxury food items, including soda drinks, alcohol, sweets and chocolate are for your own account.  
Course Fees: $2750