TANZANIA’S COMMUNITY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS
Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) are areas of communal land set aside exclusively as habitat for wildlife by member villages.
Following the principles of community based natural resource management (CBNRM), the key underlying assumption of the WMA concept is that providing local communities with economic benefits and involving them in management will promote both long-term health of wildlife and habitat and rural economic development.”
Communities thus have a vested interest in the conservation of natural resources because they benefit directly from their sustainable management. WMAs were formally adopted as an approach for involving communities in wildlife management. WMAs today provide local residents with benefits through associated enterprises that use either wildlife or other natural resources in the WMA. Before the introduction of the WMA approach, there were no legal frameworks for communities to participate in wildlife management, although individual villages could, on a small scale and in an ad hoc manner, enter into business contracts with the private sector.
Without fences controlling movement of large iconic African mammals such as elephants, zebras and lions, multiple villages preserving large tracts of land together are able to collectively capitalize on potential tourism opportunities and more effectively protect wildlife in the area. Such ventures had few safeguards to ensure economic or environmental sustainability. WMAs allow communities to secure user rights to the wildlife resources on their land, and the legal framework allows communities to benefit directly from any enterprise that is based on wildlife. WMAs are established with the aim of enhancing conservation and poverty alleviation through sustainable utilization of natural resources.
There are fundamental reasons which justify as to why one should invest in the WMAs. These include the following:
Strategic location: Almost all WMAs form corridors between two or several national parks and game reserves. This unique characteristic makes WMAs to be not only crucial landmark for the complete ecosystem but also amongst most wildlife populated areas in the country. Within the WMAs visitors can encounter diverse species of wildlife just in a short distance of the game drive in the areas.
Clear and shortened investment procedures: Investment procedures in WMAs have been greatly simplified to ensure that negotiation between investors and the societies takes place smoothly, quickly and conveniently. It takes an average of 25 to 30 days from commencement of negotiation to contract signing between investors and the respective WMA, hence saving time and negotiation costs.
WMAs are 100% managed by Communities/villages: WMAs are under community ownership for 100%, and the communities have been given full mandate to negotiate and sign all contracts as far as their respective WMA concerns. With that power, negotiations between WMAs and investors will not involve other third parties or institutions.
By Investing in WMAs, investors are directly supporting the surrounding local communities/villages: The communities which form WMA associations directly benefits 75% of the total revenue from the respective WMA and have the mandate to plan utilization of those collections. The remaining 15% goes to the central government. Hence by investing in the WMA, investors will be contributing directly to the social-economic wellbeing of the surrounding communities through annual collections by the association.
Mbomipa WMA is located in Idodi and Pawaga Divisions of Iringa District- Iringa Region. The southern boundary of Ruaha National Park forms the northern boundary of the WMA, to the west it is bordered by the Iringa-Mbeya boundary
The Ipole wildlife management area has identified the following investment opportunities
Ikona WMA is currently looking for a potential investor to invest in the Ikona visitor’s center. An international standard visitor’s center with a capacity of serving 300 tourists at a time was developed under the support of USAID, however the WMA has not been able to source an investor who can manage and provide services at the center
Randileni has two open sites within WMA for photographic safari investments. They are commonly known as the sunset site and korongo la Dume site.
Enduimet WMA is open for interested investors who wish to invest in this potential tourism site and currently has set aside three photographic investment areas which are open for permanent structured lodges and tented lodges.