Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute

Arusha, Tanzania

Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute

Arusha, Tanzania

The Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute is a state-run body which is organizes wildlife research in Tanzania. Wikipedia.


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Martin A.,University of California at Davis | Caro T.,University of California at Davis | Caro T.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | Kiffner C.,University of California at Davis
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2013

Prey preferences of top carnivores in African ecosystems are well known, but far less is understood about the preferences of human hunters and the effects of their hunting activities. We interviewed 82 hunters living in Mpimbwe Division adjacent to Katavi National Park and Rukwa Game Reserve in western Tanzania. We compared stated preferences for different species of mammals with that reportedly hunted, and we used reportedly hunted species in Jacob's indices to examine proportional offtake of each species that would be expected as based on both encounters and density estimates of the wildlife species. Then, using general linear models, we tested whether the derived indices of preference were affected by the proportional density, habitat preference, and body mass of the mammalian prey species. We found that hunters would like to kill large mammals but, instead, hunt opportunistically when they cannot realize these preferences and so end up taking smaller species than would be expected. We found that a surprising amount of rarer species is taken in this ecosystem. Our study helps to unveil novel information that wildlife managers can use to predict what hunters take most from protected areas, and it highlights the importance of treating humans as apex predators in modern day Africa. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Kiffner C.,University of California at Davis | Stoner C.,University of California at Berkeley | Caro T.,University of California at Davis | Caro T.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute
Animal Conservation | Year: 2013

While protected areas are a centrepiece of conservation, populations of animals in protected areas can still be subject to considerable human influence. Conservation theory suggests that many species should live at lower densities at the periphery of protected areas compared with the core area. Similarly, but more specifically, species subject to exploitation are expected to have lower densities in areas close to human settlements compared with more remote areas. Drawing upon distributional data of eight large African herbivore species (buffalo Syncerus caffer, elephant Loxodonta africana, giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis, impala Aepyceros melampus, topi Damaliscus lunatus, warthog Phacochoerus africanus, waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus and zebra Equus quagga) sampled using ground surveys in 1995 and 1996, and seven large herbivore species (the same species without impala) sampled using aerial surveys from 1987 to 2009, we fitted logistic regression models and used an information theoretic model selection approach to test these two hypotheses in an East African savannah national park subject to illegal hunting from outside. In the vast majority of herbivore species, occupancy was not substantially affected by being close to the edge of the park or in close proximity to human villages. Furthermore, population declines witnessed in this protected area were not reflected in reduced occupancy near park boundaries. We conclude that assumed distributional differences between peripheral and core parts of reserves are not necessarily supported by empirical evidence, and that population declines within reserves do not inevitably proceed from boundaries inwards. © 2012 The Zoological Society of London.


Caro T.,University of California at Davis | Caro T.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute
African Journal of Ecology | Year: 2011

Although long-term monitoring is viewed as an essential part of conserving wildlife populations, it is currently carried out in surprisingly few protected areas in Africa. Here, data from a 16-year vehicle transect monitoring programme in Katavi National Park, western Tanzania, are presented. These data provide information on large mammal densities, identify declines in populations of several large mammal species as based on encounter rates, support worrying trends observed in aerial census data and shed light on the effectiveness of recent changes in legal protection. Ground and aerial surveys confirmed that waterbuck, topi, warthog, lion and spotted hyaena populations are all in decline and that this should be a cause for concern. Counting animals by driving vehicle transects is relatively easy and inexpensive to carry out, and data here show that such counts have several pay-offs for conservation managers especially in identifying population declines; counts should be employed more often in East Africa and elsewhere. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Packer C.,University of Minnesota | Brink H.,University of Kent | Kissui B.M.,African Wildlife Foundation | Maliti H.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2011

Tanzania holds most of the remaining large populations of African lions (Panthera leo) and has extensive areas of leopard habitat (Panthera pardus), and both species are subjected to sizable harvests by sport hunters. As a first step toward establishing sustainable management strategies, we analyzed harvest trends for lions and leopards across Tanzania's 300,000 km2 of hunting blocks. We summarize lion population trends in protected areas where lion abundance has been directly measured and data on the frequency of lion attacks on humans in high-conflict agricultural areas. We place these findings in context of the rapidly growing human population in rural Tanzania and the concomitant effects of habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and cultural practices. Lion harvests declined by 50% across Tanzania between 1996 and 2008, and hunting areas with the highest initial harvests suffered the steepest declines. Although each part of the country is subject to some form of anthropogenic impact from local people, the intensity of trophy hunting was the only significant factor in a statistical analysis of lion harvest trends. Although leopard harvests were more stable, regions outside the Selous Game Reserve with the highest initial leopard harvests again showed the steepest declines. Our quantitative analyses suggest that annual hunting quotas be limited to 0.5 lions and 1.0 leopard/1000 km2 of hunting area, except hunting blocks in the Selous Game Reserve, where harvests should be limited to 1.0 lion and 3.0 leopards/1000 km2. © 2010 Society for Conservation Biology.


The direct dependence of humans on ecosystem services is by far strongest in developing regions where poverty restricts access to resources. This dependency also makes people in developing countries more sensitive to climate change than their developed counterparts. Increasing human populations deteriorates natural habitat, biodiversity and ecosystems services which spiral into poverty and low human welfare. This calls for innovative solutions that encompass the entire socio-ecological-economic system, as recognized on a global scale in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. However, innovative and practical solutions require downscaling to regional levels for identifying concrete sets of drivers of change. For Africa specifically, the interplay of human population growth, land use change, climate change and human well-being is a major challenge. This project focuses on the Serengeti-Maasai Mara Ecosystem and associated agricultural areas, a region in East Africa that encompasses parts of Kenya and Tanzania. The ecosystem is world-famous for key aspects of its biodiversity, such as the migration of 1.3 million wildebeest. This flagship ecosystem role will enhance the international interest in the project. In this project, internationally leading researchers from Norway, the Netherlands, Scotland, Denmark and Germany are teaming up with strong local partners in Tanzania and Kenya. The research will be organised in seven interlinked work packages: 1) assemble and integrate the so far separate Kenyan and Tanzanian relevant data on the region; 2) quantify the connections between human population growth, land use change, climate change and biodiversity change; 3) test how biodiversity change leads to changes in key ecosystem services; 4) quantify the dependence of human livelihoods on these ecosystem services. We will implement innovative ways for communication and dissemination of the results of continuous engagement by local stakeholders.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-SICA | Phase: ENV.2007.2.1.4.3. | Award Amount: 3.84M | Year: 2008

Biodiversity conservation increasingly takes place outside protected areas in multiple-use landscapes. Success in achieving biodiversity objectives is closely linked to the extent to which conservation can be integrated with the cultural, social and economic objectives and aspirations of people. Beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and preferences about biodiversity are central to the decisions made by individuals and groups about natural resource management. In this project we will use hunting as a lens through which to examine the wider issue of how people interact with biodiversity. Hunting provides a valuable case study in the use of biodiversity because it involves tens of millions of people globally, it is conducted across a wide range of land tenure and use systems, and it is an important source of revenue and protein, particularly in developing countries. Hunting is embedded in social structures and cultural patterns and has a key role in conflicts over natural resource management around the world. Our multidisciplinary team will assess the social, cultural, economic and ecological functions and impacts of hunting across a range of contexts in Europe and Africa. Our study systems fall across economic gradients from the richest to the poorest countries and encompass environments from the Arctic to the Equator. We seek to understand what influences attitudes to hunting, how these attitudes influence and determine individual and societal behaviour in relation to hunting, and finally, how hunting behaviour influences biodiversity. Consequently, we will integrate social, economic and ecological scientific disciplines and engage with a diverse selection of stakeholders to develop novel approaches to the mitigation of natural resource conflicts involving hunting. Finally, our results will be interpreted in respect to current and future EU policy on hunting and biodiversity conservation and contribute to the global debate about the sustainable use of biodiversity.


Mwita M.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute
e-Review of Tourism Research | Year: 2014

The study assessed opportunities and challenges in the adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by tour operators in Tanzania. Focused group discussions, key informant interview both (guided by checklists), and questionnaires (open and closed ended) were used for data collection. The results indicate that through the use of ICT the entire tourism industry structure is changing because the Internet and ICT support functional activities, such as: marketing, data collection, planning, sales, operations, human resource management, customer care and purchasing. However, the current status of ICT usage in tourism is still minimal especially in terms of marketing and operation.


Hamill L.C.,University of Edinburgh | Kaare M.T.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | Welburn S.C.,University of Edinburgh | Picozzi K.,University of Edinburgh
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2013

Background: Pig keeping is becoming increasingly common across sub-Saharan Africa. Domestic pigs from the Arusha region of northern Tanzania were screened for trypanosomes using PCR-based methods to examine the role of pigs as a reservoir of human and animal trypanosomiasis. Methods. A total of 168 blood samples were obtained from domestic pigs opportunistically sampled across four districts in Tanzania (Babati, Mbulu, Arumeru and Dodoma) during December 2004. A suite of PCR-based methods was used to identify the species and sub-species of trypanosomes including: Internally Transcribed Sequence to identify multiple species; species specific PCR to identify T. brucei s. l. and T. godfreyi and a multiplex PCR reaction to distinguish T. b. rhodesiense from T. brucei s. l. Results: Of the 168 domestic pigs screened for animal and human infective trypanosome DNA, 28 (16.7%) were infected with one or more species of trypanosome; these included: six pigs infected with Trypanosoma vivax (3.6%); three with Trypanosoma simiae (1.8%); two with Trypanosoma congolense (Forest) (1%) and four with Trypanosoma godfreyi (2.4%). Nineteen pigs were infected with Trypanosoma brucei s. l. (10.1%) of which eight were identified as carrying the human infective sub-species Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (4.8%). Conclusion: These results show that in Tanzania domestic pigs may act as a significant reservoir for animal trypanosomiasis including the cattle pathogens T. vivax and T. congolense, the pig pathogen T. simiae, and provide a significant reservoir for T. b. rhodesiense, the causative agent of acute Rhodesian sleeping sickness. © 2013 Hamill et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Hatton I.A.,McGill University | McCann K.S.,University of Guelph | Fryxell J.M.,University of Guelph | Davies T.J.,McGill University | And 4 more authors.
Science | Year: 2015

Ecosystems exhibit surprising regularities in structure and function across terrestrial and aquatic biomes worldwide.We assembled a global data set for 2260 communities of large mammals, invertebrates, plants, and plankton.We find that predator and prey biomass follow a general scaling law with exponents consistently near. This pervasive pattern implies that the structure of the biomass pyramid becomes increasingly bottom-heavy at higher biomass. Similar exponents are obtained for community production-biomass relations, suggesting conserved links between ecosystem structure and function. These exponents are similar to many body mass allometries, and yet ecosystem scaling emerges independently from individual-level scaling, which is not fully understood. These patterns suggest a greater degree of ecosystem-level organization than previously recognized and a more predictive approach to ecological theory.


Packer C.,University of Minnesota | Swanson A.,University of Minnesota | Ikanda D.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | Kushnir H.,University of Minnesota
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Nocturnal carnivores are widely believed to have played an important role in human evolution, driving the need for night-time shelter, the control of fire and our innate fear of darkness. However, no empirical data are available on the effects of darkness on the risks of predation in humans. We performed an extensive analysis of predatory behavior across the lunar cycle on the largest dataset of lion attacks ever assembled and found that African lions are as sensitive to moonlight when hunting humans as when hunting herbivores and that lions are most dangerous to humans when the moon is faint or below the horizon. At night, people are most active between dusk and 10:00 pm, thus most lion attacks occur in the first weeks following the full moon (when the moon rises at least an hour after sunset). Consequently, the full moon is a reliable indicator of impending danger, perhaps helping to explain why the full moon has been the subject of so many myths and misconceptions. © 2011 Packer et al.

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