Mikumi National Park has seen a reduction in the amount of poaching in the past year thanks to their focus on community participation and empowerment. The Mikumi National Park Conservation Programme brings together the community and TANAPA, demonstrating that the village community can directly benefit from the park’s resources through ‘being the eyes and ears on the ground’, providing information to park rangers on any suspicious activity.
This increases the interest of locals and their support for the park’s wildlife efforts, they now view conservation as an opportunity for their development. Employment and education are improved through wildlife conservation and tourism. One of the many projects includes teaching communities about the techniques of modern day beekeeping, which provide beehives to the local villages and all the necessary equipment. The park has offered jobs to the local community including patrolling some of the conservation areas within the park itself. The Chief Park Warden has developed an awareness programme that invites village leaders to visit the national park to learn more about the conservation issues they face. The whole idea is to create a greater understanding and a sense of ownership that the park belongs to them and they need to protect it for future generations.
Successful Conservation Projects
This follows the successful conservation efforts with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Thirteen elephants were fitted with satellite-trackable collars to track their movements in real time, providing an insight into their behavioural patterns. This will also alert conservationists if they are moving closer to known poaching areas and if they are in any potential danger.
The project is not only helping to support the community, but also protect the 60 mammal species found in Mikumi National Park including elephants, zebras and the eland, which is the world’s largest antelope, allowing the park's wildlife to recover and flourish under this new found protection.