TANZANIA SEMESTER: WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT STUDIES
- Terms: Fall, Spring
- Credits: 18 semester-hour credits
- Prerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 18 years of age
- Application Deadline: Rolling admissions. Early applications encouraged
- Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans
Step beyond the tourist experience during a semester in Tanzania. Meet the country’s charismatic wildlife – from magnificent lions and elephants to thunderous herds of wildebeest and graceful gazelles – as you learn about their ecology and behavior. Experience the rich culture and traditions of Tanzania’s Maasai, Iraqw, and Hadzabe tribal communities while collaborating on issues of human-wildlife conflict and climate change. Finish the semester in the field with an in-depth research project.
- Field lectures on large mammal migratory patterns during multi-day camping expedition to Serengeti National Park
- Research on lion and elephant ecology in Tarangire National Park
- Observations on tourism impacts on the wetlands of Lake Manyara National Park
- Collaborations with Maasai, Iraqw, and Hadzabe tribal communities on community conservation, climate change adaptation and livestock predation mitigation strategies
THE FIELD STATION:
SFS students live and study at the Center for Wildlife Management Studies. Known locally as “Moyo Hill Camp” and surrounded by Tanzania’s world-famous national parks and wildlife, it’s the perfect base camp for expeditions into the field. Campus is reminiscent of summer camp, with plenty of outdoor and communal spaces, while the small, friendly community of Rhotia is a short walk away.
- Wildlife conservation
- African large mammal behavior
- Carnivore ecology
- Human-wildlife conflict
- Climate change
- Community-based conservation
- Wildlife census techniques
- Natural resource valuation
- Research design
- Data collection
- Scientific writing and presentation
CONNECT WITH SFS
Visit the SFS website
Call the Admissions Hotline at 800.989.4418
Read updates from the field on the SFS Blog
Follow SFS on Instagram
Watch student videos on YouTube
The School for Field Studies (SFS) Wildlife Management Studies semester program* allows students to examine how land-use practices can be sustainably managed to promote both local economic livelihoods and wildlife conservation. Students will gain a general overview of cultural perceptions, conservation issues, wildlife dispersal areas, and biodiversity conservation.
*Based on our current assessment of the situation in Kenya, we have chosen to suspend the Kenya component of our Wildlife Management Studies program for the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters. These two semesters will now take place entirely within Tanzania. Our decision reflects our concern regarding increasing unrest, terrorist activities and political tensions in certain regions of Kenya. While our Kenya campus lies well beyond these sensitive areas, our diminishing ability to access national parks and regions outside of our campus would mean altering some of the fundamental aspects that make the wildlife program so enriching. Please read our full statement here.
Northern Tanzania is a hub of wildlife tourism. Home to world-famous national parks such as Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, this remarkably scenic area is the center of tourism in East Africa. It has also been the home of the Maasai, Iraqw, and other groups for centuries.
Despite the seemingly negative trends of availability and quality of habitat and resources for wildlife and livestock on the Maasai steppe, there are many opportunities for effective conservation, natural resource management, and rural development. SFS’s field station is surrounded by wildlife using diverse migration corridors and seasonal dispersal areas. The Maasai, and now settlers from other ethnic communities, depend on these same areas as communal grazing grounds for livestock and for growing food. As a result, they often face economic hardship due to crop damage from migrating wildlife, loss of livestock, and resource depletion and competition. Agricultural expansion, pollution, and climate change threaten the already strained water supply and the health of people, livestock, and wildlife alike.
The Center’s research is framed both by the needs of human communities and by wildlife conservation goals in the region. Our curriculum and research focus on how changes in land use and resource availability in the Maasai steppe ecosystems can be managed to foster the wellbeing of local communities while safeguarding and promoting biodiversity conservation. Students learn about the socioeconomic, policy, and environmental drivers and implications of demographic change and land reform for wildlife conservation and rural development.
FIELD RESEARCH, LECTURES, AND EXERCISES
SAMPLE DIRECTED RESEARCH
- Visits to cultural manyatta, an opportunity to glimpse Maasai and Iraqw cultures: musical ceremonies, demonstrations in fire-making, dances by Maasai morans (warriors), and lessons in spear-throwing
- Exploration of Lake Manyara National Park to learn large mammal identification, baboon ecology, and threats to wetlands from tourism, land-use changes, and local resource use
- Excursions to Tarangire National Park for exercises on animal counting, wildlife management, lion ecology and behavior, conservation models, and preservation of corridors
- Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area to learn about integrated management, inclusion of indigenous communities in conservation and management of natural resources, animal identification, and the role of volcanism in species diversity
- Multi-day field expedition to Serengeti National Park to learn about large mammal ecology, diseases, and migrations
- Day trip to Burunge Wildlife Management Area to study community-based management of wildlife and understand how communities benefit from conservation of wildlife resources
- Develop field research skills including habitat assessment and mapping, species identification, research design, data collection, valuation methods, social surveys, wildlife census techniques, GIS, transect and patch sampling, animal behavior observations, geology, and soil identification
- Local community strategies for coping with variation in water availability
- Assessment of attitudes and awareness on wildlife conservation among the Iraqw and the Maasai communities
- Influence of ecological and social factors on the distribution of African elephants in Tanzania’s Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem
- Animal density differences between areas of differing protection levels
- Importance of habitat quality and heterogeneity on wildlife sanctuary viability
- The role of government in human-wildlife conflict resolution
Above all else, SFS seeks to give back to our host communities around the world. Understanding community views on wildlife, the challenges faced, and management policies employed by park managers is central among our research goals. Students have many opportunities for social interaction as well, including:
- Community service work in local schools, hospitals, orphanages, and with a local women’s group
- Visit and stay with Iraqw communities
- Visits to local markets and a neighboring homesteads for traditional celebrations, a lecture on culture and artifacts, and conducting interviews for research work
Students live at Moyo Hill Camp (MHC) located in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem between Lake Manyara National Park and the famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This wonderfully scenic area is world-renowned for its beauty, geography, history, and wildlife. MHC is a fenced facility nestled among maize plantations and other crop fields. Students sleep among the native acacia and fig trees, and birdsong fills the air in the morning. The camp consists of multiple buildings including an administrative center, a chumba, which serves as an eating and social activity center, a classroom and library, a computer room, and student, faculty, and staff housing. MHC comprises part of a small community where students can enjoy daily interaction with neighbors. Walking, jogging, soccer, and socializing outside of the camp round out daily life at MHC.