9 Aug 2021
Illegal Lion Killing in Western Tanzania I
Illegal Lion Killing in Western Tanzania II
In Tanzania, habitat loss, a declining prey base, legal hunting by tourists, and retaliatory and illegal non-retaliatory killing by local people constitute the major threats. In western Tanzania, illegal traditional lion killing by Sukuma agro-pastoralists is highly risking lions’ existence. Young Sukuma men still hunt lions on foot to garner rewards from clansmen who are grateful for removal of livestock killers [4, 5]. For about ten years now, WASIMA addresses retaliatory and non-retaliatory lion killings, has expanded and is strengthening operations against illegal lion killings to villages that still harbor lions. We are focusing on remote villages within Rukwa-Katavi-Mahale and Ugalla ecosystem (20458km2); around Rukwa-Luaﬁ GR (7,024km2), Ugalla GR (5,000km2), Mahale NP (1,613km2), Inyonga-Mlele FR (2,350km2) while keeping a close watch on conservation operations around Katavi NP (4471km2). Ruﬀord Booster grant will strengthen WASIMA model operations and support locals' commitments towards lion conservation around these habitats each of which is of both national and international importance for lions, yet lion populations face a continual threat from Sukuma agro-pastoralists settling adjacent to them [7,8,9].
Our goal is to eﬀectively strengthen the “Stop Illegal Lion Killing” campaign in spreading wildlife conservation awareness among community members, securing their commitment, implementing village by-laws to ban lion killing and promote values of living with lions and alternative local environmentally friendly livelihoods to promote habitat preservation within Sukuma agro-pastoral communities. Strengthening operations will involve implementation of multi-prolonged outreach activities such as approval of by-laws banning lion killing and lion dancing practices approval meetings, Sungusungu (traditional policing institution) capacity building to ensure eﬀective village by-law enforcement, village and community group leaders’ seminars, local leaders park trips, public conservation education awareness (public talks, educational materials presentation and ﬁlm shows. The project primary target is to ensure lion conservation awareness of the illegal shift in Sukuma lion killing practices spreads among community members living adjacent to these key reserves, and to secure community commitment towards halting lion killings. We believe that strengthening the launched WASIMA model operations of this campaign will increase our success possibilities as we have already done village assembly meetings and workshops  to garner the local free and prior informed consent and stakeholders’ cooperation, commitment and support. With eﬀective implementation, we expect reduced human-lion conﬂict, poaching and encroachment and more over improved human-lion coexistence and certainty of the future existence of lions in western Tanzania.