In 1959 the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) was established and the Serengeti became the first national park. By 2014, TANAPA had grown to 16 national parks, covering approximately 57,024 square kilometers. The primary role of TANAPA is conservation. The 16 national parks, many of which form the core of a much larger protected ecosystem, have been set aside to preserve the country’s rich natural heritage and to provide secure breeding grounds where its fauna and flora can thrive, safe from the conflicting interests of a growing human population.
TANAPA is charged with functions of protection of natural resources, park facilities and tourists visiting the parks; park management and development; ecological and wildlife health monitoring; tourism development; and community involvement in conservation efforts.
Poaching has continued to be the major challenge facing TANAPA. For decades, most of the communities living adjacent to the national parks have depended on the parks for bush meat and other subsistence needs like firewood, grass and pasture. Due to population increase, demand for bush meat has also increased to cater to both subsistence and commercial needs and thus poached products are traded both locally and internationally.
To address these growing concerns, TANAPA has increased and diversified its anti-poaching strategies over the years, including increasing budgetary allocations, increasing the number of rangers and strengthening intelligence gathering and prosecution activities. TANAPA cannot work in isolation to ensure that the precious natural resources that we manage are conserved for the enjoyment and prosperity of the present and future generations, failure of which will not only impact Tanzania, but the entire world.
Mara Elephant Project is proud to be the latest partner of TANAPA’s working with them in the Serengeti national park. MEP’s elephant rangelands border the Serengeti, which means that many of our collared elephants roam into TANAPA land.
Collared elephant Shorty who often can be found in Tanzania.
Senior Warden Joseph France for the Serengeti has been very helpful to MEP. He has been checking on one particular collared elephant recently, Shorty, both by air and by ground through receiving his current coordinates from MEP. These partnerships made locally and between countries are invaluable to both MEP and TANAPA’s parallel missions. Conservation of Africa’s great landscape species is paramount to all and MEP plans to further develop the partnership with TANAPA to ensure that this remains a reality.