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Volume 9 October 2004
ISSN 1438-7890
African Journal of Environmental Assessment and Management
Revue africaine de gestion et d’évaluation environnementales

Human Population Increase and Wildlife Conservation in Tanzania: Are the Wildlife Managers Addressing the Problem or Treating Symptoms?


Alexander N. Songorwa

The survival of Tanzania’s wildlife is in a race against development. With the passage of each decade, the task of protecting wildlife and its habitats gets more and more difficult as a result of human population increase, which causes or contributes to encroachment (through expansion of settlements, extensive agriculture, livestock grazing, bush/forest fires, felling of trees, increased poaching and even illegal settlements inside legally established protected areas. However, both the protectionist and Community Conservation approaches to wildlife conservation have distanced themselves from demographic factors. Using case studies, this paper discusses the extent to which human population factors in Tanzania have affected and continue to affect wildlife conservation. It concludes that, if the human population growth continues unchecked a crisis is looming in wildlife conservation, which will eventually evolve into a catastrophe. Furthermore, wildlife conservation issues cannot be addressed without considering demographic factors. Finally, the paper recommends that wildlife managers, conservationists and wildlife and environmental conservation/protection policies in Tanzania must stop denying the reality by ‘aiming at and “shooting” the wrong target(s)’. Instead they must urgently address the rapid human population increase around existing protected areas and in all other wildlife areas.
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