HomeOpinionWhere wildlife produces own managers

Where wildlife produces own managers

Emmanuel Koro Journalist
When African wildlife sends you to South Africa’s Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) to study nature conservation, using international hunting revenue so that you can come back and manage it, you surely must return the favour.

Some of the international hunting income produced-graduates can be found in Tanzania where they are doing great work to promote wildlife management through field research and anti-poaching activities.

In what has become a high impact use of international hunting income, the graduates who benefited from the nature conservation training initiative are in turn educating hundreds of wildlife managers at that country’s College of African Wildlife Management Mweka.

Taking the lead in training additional wildlife managers in the East African country are two hunting-revenue-produced managers and lecturers Gladys Lendii and Dr Ladislaus Kahana. They both teach at the College of African Wildlife Management Mweka. They also conduct wildlife management field research as well as anti-poaching activities, working together with the local communities.

The nature conservation knowledge that Lendii has received from TUT has not only changed her own attitude towards wildlife but also the attitudes of people in her community.

“My attitude towards wildlife has changed so much and I am using more of my efforts to change those of others too,” said Lendii. “I originally had little knowledge on conservation, especially on environmental education. The knowledge gained from TUT helped me so much to understand ecosystem services that nature, including wildlife provides to the local communities. I often participate in environmental conservation programmes mostly working with youth in secondary and primary schools, transferring the knowledge that I have.”

Lendii said that  residents from her  North Tanzania community “used to cut trees for domestic uses but now they harvest dried wood from trees that have died naturally.”

“They also use stoves which use less wood for heating and cooking,” she said.

Reacting to the great potential that African wildlife has towards producing more wildlife managers not only in Tanzania but across the African continent, an American citizen who has interests in wildlife conservation in Africa has called for the continued use of international hunting income to support the education of more African wildlife managers and lecturers.

We need thousands of graduates such as Lendii, Billi Munisis, Edward Mbarnotis and John Kaayas (Tanzania); Armand Bikoos and Maliki Wardjomtos (Cameroon); Joel Ole Nyikas (Kenya); Tlhokomelang Ngakas, Matota Teko and Boipuso  Mangurungas (Botswana); Paulus Arnolds  (Namibia); Simon Steyns and Joseph Mundawu (Zimbabwe) educated in this way across Africa, in order to make a difference and then Africans and their wildlife will have a viable future,” said Dr Andre DeGeorges, a former TUT lecturer in his presentation of the list of some of the Project Noah TUT nature conservation graduates who benefited from international hunting revenue.

“This young girl ( Lendii) has turned into a young woman impacting hundreds if not thousands of Tanzanians, Kenyans and other countries from where students come to study at the College of African Wildlife Management Mweka,” said DeGeorges.

The Director of  Robin Hurt Safaris, Robin Hurt who used to hunt in Tanzania, identified and funded Lendii in 2004. Robin Hurt Safaris is now being run by his two sons Derek and Roger Hurt who are carrying on  with Hurt’s conservation ideals.  Hurt now lives in Namibia  and his current conservation efforts and those of his wife Pauline,  are directed to rhino conservation.

“The education that I acquired has given me several opportunities such as running the programme to educate youth on nature conservation,” said Ms Lendii.

“I give lectures on the management of captive sites among other subjects.

“I also give lectures on community conservation to college students.

“Currently, our country (Tanzania) through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, has put in place a policy where Tanzanians can be introduced to game farms and game ranches where people can get easy access to game meat through private butcheries.

Koro is a Johannesburg-based international award-winning independent environmental journalist who writes and has written extensively on environment and development issues in Africa

“Our  College is providing the course on wildlife management in captive areas such as orphanage centres, game farms, reptile parks, game ranches where I use my experience and knowledge to educate graduates who are going to be employed at these sites through private sectors and government support.”

Wildlife meat is known to boost African rural communities’ protein base.

“Notice that she isn’t cutting people off  bushmeat as so many animal rights groups tend to do,” said DeGeorges speaking from his home country, the US.  “She is helping them manage their wildlife as a major food source.”

In Lendii, Hurt has found an excellent example of an international hunting income produced-graduate who like others before her returned to manage the African wildlife that supported their studies.

“Ms Sally Capper met a young lady in North Tanzania in 2004, Ms Gladys Lendii , who impressed her,” said Hurt explaining how Lendii was chosen as a beneficiary of the Project Noah nature conservation study programme. “Sally contacted my wife Pauline and myself and we agreed to sponsor Gladys. Gladys has in turn become an important lecturer at the College of African Wildlife Management Mweka and Pauline and I have always been very happy that we sponsored her.”

For Hurt the drawcard to sponsor Lendii out of all the young Tanzanians was “her enthusiasm for wildlife and habitat conservation and her understanding that human populations living in wilderness areas need to benefit financially from the resource (wildlife), if they are to be encouraged to conserve wildlife and wild habitat,” said Hurt.

  • The far-reaching benefits of international hunting revenue continue to be felt in Tanzania as one of the beneficiaries of Project Noah, Kahana is making a significant contribution not only to wildlife education but also to wildlife conservation.

“My family members, village community and friends most of them through my influence, have started planting trees/ woodlots for soil protection and bringing back the nature destroyed through land clearing for farming, tree cutting for firewood and charcoal burning,” said Kahana, who is a senior lecturer at College of African Wildlife Management Mweka. “The hunting community residents from Tanzania who used to be poachers but no longer poach because they are now enjoying the social economic benefits from hunting include the Waikoma, Wakurya, Waisenyi, Wananta and Wangoreme tribes that border the Ikorongo/Gurumeti Game reserve in the western part of Serengeti National Park.”

Kahana said that “our neighbouring Kenyan communities should be allowed to benefit from international hunting” so that they too can achieve the ultimate goal of wildlife and habitat conservation.

Amid the widely shared observations that an attempt to ban international hunting would fail the UN goal to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, both Kahana and Lendii have supported these sentiments.

The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

“If international hunting is banned, the UN 2030 sustainable goal will never be achieved,” said Kahana. “This is because the funds that are accruing from the international hunting and used to support various projects in the villages such us water supply, dispensary and school construction will no longer be there.”

About the writer: Emmanuel Koro is a Johannesburg-based international award-winning independent environmental journalist who writes extensively on environment and development issues in Africa

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