Around the 1950’s and through to the 70’s the original approach to conservation of wildlife and key ecosystems in Tanzania was to develop nationally protected areas with no human settlement or land use, the national parks. Local communities were evicted from key ecosystem habitats and national parks were developed. However the parks were established without consideration for the bigger picture, that wildlife move over large land areas for either water or food. The parks were generally established to protect only the key areas, allowing wildlife to move in and out of these protected areas. Since 1950, Tanzania’s population has increase from 8 million to 45 million, this population increase has created immense pressure on land and resources with expansion of agriculture slowing constricting livestock into smaller areas and onto the edges of the national parks.
Towards the end of 1990’s different forms of community based conservation initiatives started in Tanzania, bringing a new look at how conservation of wildlife and ecosystems should happen, this was the inclusion of the local communities into the conservation agenda.
Community Based Conservation therefore is not just about police protection of wildlife but mainly how the partnership of wildlife and humans exists and so how wildlife benefits the local communities with the longer term picture where communities in turn value wildlife. Conservation strategies therefore include benefits for local communities; these benefits in Enduimet WMA are identified as better health, education, access to water and business opportunities.
The communities in Enduimet benefit from wildlife mainly though revenues collected from tourism, these communities are now the conservationists of the area, they are mostly pastoralists not entirely but they are all now conservationists. Tourists who book a stay in any of the camps in Enduimet contribute to conservation, just by staying in Enduimet, a tourist is participating in community based conservation.