It wasn't all fun and games for the 37 Bushtracks travelers who visited Manyara Ranch this summer. They also presented John Salehe, Director of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), and Fidelis Olekashe, the ranch manager, with a donation of $3,700 towards the Manyara Conservancy on June 26, 2017.
Owned and operated by the Manyara Conservancy, the Ranch's partners include the AWF together with the Monduli District Council and the Honeyguide Foundation. The donation will support Manyara Ranch, which employs people from the local community, provides education for local Maasai children, protects a vital wildlife corridor, and supports anti-poaching and wildlife research activities.
Protecting a Critical Wildlife Migration Corridor
The 35,000-acre Manyara Ranch Conservancy is a pioneering project blending habitat conservation with tourism for the benefit of local communities in northern Tanzania. Previously owned by the Tanzanian government, Manyara Ranch occupies a critical location between Tarangire National Park, with its characteristic baobab trees and numerous elephants, and Lake Manyara National Park, famous for its tree-climbing lions. The two parks are linked by the Kwa Kuchinja wildlife corridor, which passes through Manyara Ranch. By protecting this critical corridor more than 50 species of mammals found in this region can continue to freely travel between the two parks.
Habitat Conservation that Benefits the Maasai Community
Manyara Ranch is equally invested in its local community as its wildlife. The Manyara Ranch Camp delivers comfortable accommodations and breathtaking views to guests, while providing livelihoods for local communities and protection for vulnerable wildlife. Manyara Ranch Primary School, originally located at the center of the ranch, was relocated to a safer area at the boundary of the ranch. African Wildlife Foundation, supported by the Annenberg Foundation, undertook construction of the new school, which now has modern facilities and a greatly enhanced capacity. The Manyara Ranch School offers perhaps the only opportunity for children of the indigenous Maasai pastoralist communities in this landscape to receive a good basic education.
Anti-Poaching and Ongoing Wildlife Research
Other critical projects at Manyara Ranch include anti-poaching efforts and ongoing wildlife research. Anti-poaching operations are coordinated by Honeyguide Foundation, which patrols the ranch with armed rangers, microlight flights and trained sniffer-dogs to seek out poachers. An important informer network that rewards informants is also in place. Ongoing research projects include elephant, lion and wildebeest collaring to track movement and range of these animals. Giraffe and other animal counts take place regularly as do transects aimed at studying vegetation re-growth. Tarangire Lion Project has in the past assisted local communities in dealing with potential lion conflicts.