For centuries the peoples of Kilimanjaro successfully coexisted with wildlife; but an escalating population and development’s inevitable pull has shattered this fine balance. Ironically it will take immense effort by man to resolve the crisis by determining new guidelines for wildlife to survive in this shifting world. It is an intricate process, the success of which is rooted in supporting the people of Enduimet, whilst protecting their natural world. It relies on the communities’ total involvement and commitment in producing an equation that benefits all.
Enduimet’s population and the land they inhabit are a reflection of their deeply rooted culture, lifestyles and traditions. The sun-scorched flatlands of Sinya reflect the strong, durable and infinite nature of the Maasai and WaArusha people who are pastoralists. In contrast, the fertile and productive slopes of East-West Kilimanjaro reflect the progressive nature of the WaChagga, WaPare and WaMeru people who are agriculturalists.
Sadly, only drought and disease keep livestock in check rather than more effective and controlled measures. Conflict over land threatens nature itself, as the world gets smaller, particularly amongst the lush foothills of Kilimanjaro and areas including water catchments. But Enduimet Wildlife Management Area (WMA) represents change and a quality of life that supports wildlife.
Protecting wildlife through trained Anti-Poaching units manned by local communities, assistance in education, improved methods of self-sufficiency, and guidance in sustainable farming methods and soil conservation are huge steps forward. Sustainable income through responsible tourism is also an enormous incentive to preserve wildlife, and it brings a whole new meaning to productive conservation.
The ‘Enduimet WMA Watch’ faces huge challenges, but they share a growing desire to harvest a lifestyle that benefits the community through the projection of its wildlife. The signs of change are everywhere and point to tomorrow’s success and an environment conducive to wildlife’s survival.
By Colleen Hogg
March, 2013 – Tanzania