Protected areas like National Parks are crucial for wildlife, but if the land surrounding them is not properly conserved, parks risk becoming isolated and unviable for wildlife. Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks are 40 kilometers apart. Around the year 2000, the migration route that connect the parks, known as Kwakuchinja migration corridor, was at risk of being closed. Habitat fragmentation and degradation have become the greatest threats to conservation in northern Tanzania.
To address these threats, African Wildlife Foundation helped establish the Tanzania Land Conservation Trust who in April 2001, acquired Manyara Ranch. Previously owned by the Tanzanian government, Manyara Ranch comprises 18000 acres or almost 45000 acres). AWF manages this area to protect the needs of pastoral communities and to preserve the integrity of the habitat for wildlife conservation.
Long-term conservation goals for Tarangire and Manyara Parks require linking these with corridors of undeveloped land across which wildlife can move freely. The acquisition serves as an initial major step in this direction.
In addition to its importance as a migration corridor, Manyara Ranch offers exciting conservation outreach potential for showcasing how communities can benefit from wildlife conservation outside of protected areas. The ranch serves as a laboratory to study the factors driving habitat degradation and human-wildlife conflicts. This research informs innovative and adaptive management approaches aimed conflict mitigation and habitat restoration. Approaches include conservation financing mechanisms, combining both community and private initiatives. The process of identifying, planning, and managing income-generating activities is guided by the goal of developing a sustainable mechanism for both conservation and benefit sharing with local communities.
Today, Manyara Ranch successfully manages cattle in conservation-friendly ways. Rangers patrol the ranch, monitoring wildlife and warding off poachers. With financial help from the Annenberg Foundation and others, a pre-existing boarding school for Maasai children was relocated to an modern facility completed at the end of 2006 at the outskirts of the ranch. Most importantly, a huge portion of the Kwakuchinja corridor has been secured for the future.
Taken from AWF's website: http://awf.org/content/solution/detail/3505