This year we are looking to further strengthen the social aspect of our work, particularly village livelihood surveys. We are also now putting particular focus on local income generation in our four focal villages, and the development of eco-tourism in Magombera forest.
We have provided a small start-up fund to begin production of handicrafts for sale in Tanzania and UK zoos, to bring income to the villages. Plus we have cleared two forest trails as part of our village tourism scheme (thanks to Wild Things Safaris and Hondo Hondo Tourist Camp for their help with that). All tourism proceeds are going direct to the villages to help fund their own sustainability activities.
The work is really making a difference, as tree biomass has increased along our research trails since project initiation. Over the past year our tree nursery in Katurukila has led to the distribution of around 5,000 tree seedlings. We are monitoring seedling growth, and last month I had the pleasure of visiting one farm where I saw around 200 of our tree seedlings, now all around 1m tall under the care of a local farmer. Another wonderful development has been the introduction of a bye-law in Magombera village, making it compulsory for all households to own a fuel-efficient stove to help reduce the need for firewood.
However, threats to the forest continue in the form of charcoal and timber removal, and even one instance of clear-felling, for which the wealthy perpetrator has been taken to court. These activities are illegal, but the forest still has no formal protection. We are working with the Tanzanian government, and other stakeholders to make this happen. At a stakeholder meeting in June, we were told that half of the forest is now already with the government for creation of a Nature Reserve. We are now communicating with landowners and a charity in the UK to secure protection of the remaining half of the forest.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so at the following Just Giving address:
Or send a text message as follows: UFPF99 £5
(or replace £5 with £1, £2, £3, or £10)
All of the work we have done so far wouldn’t have been possible without the kind support we have received. So thanks to you all, to Flamingo Land, and to the Kilombero Sugar Company, who have been carrying out forest patrols, helped with various logistical aspects, and this year have provided funds for us to employ our new Project Facilitator, Andrew McKay.
Please see our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on the project, and news from inside the zoo enclosure:
Twitter: @KatyMoreton, @AndyMarshall125, #humanexhibit