This is a ‘framework' programme that deals with all management, infrastructure, protection, community and research aspects of nature conservation in the protected areas of the Serengeti Ecosystem.
The Frankfurt Zoological Society supports all aspects of Park Management in the Serengeti National Park in a variety of ways:
- Veterinary Project: FZS supports the Serengeti veterinary department which contributes substantially to the protection of wild animals in and outside of the national park. The main objectives and activities of the veterinary project are to: monitor wild animal populations for potential epidemic outbreaks, maintain a "cordon sanitaire" along the protected area boundary by vaccinating domestic animals outside the park and aid researchers with all wildlife handling, e.g. radio collaring. Animals are treated curatively only if they have suffered because of human influences, for example from snares.
- Ecological Monitoring: FZS has supported the department for ecological monitoring of the Serengeti National Park for many years. The department collects ecological data important for the sustainable management of the National Park, including: vegetation changes, rainfall and water supply, erosion, tourism influence, animal censuses, and dispersal of introduced exotic plant species. Another important aspect of the ecology project is fire management and the study of the influence of fire on vegetation. FZS also supports the provision of environmental impact assessments.
- Park Operations and Infrastructure: donation of vehicles, aircraft, generators, radios, solar equipment, administration buildings, petrol stations, and boundary demarcations as well as ranger posts, uniforms and equipment (thus supporting anti-poaching). Maintenance of the above along with older ranger posts, roads and garages.
- Community Education: donation of a lorry for transporting school children and local residents to Serengeti for educational experiences. Thereby - and in association with the youth hostel and the visitor centre - children and adolescents from neighbouring communities will get to know "their" park. The Serengeti can only be conserved if future generations know and appreciate the park and are proud of their national heritage.
The FZS garage in the centre of the Serengeti provides constant maintenance for both Serengeti and Ngorongoro ranger vehicles as well as FZS park vehicles. The maintenance of the vehicles on a professional level prolongs the life span of the vehicles and lowers the number of new cars purchased per year.
The Serengeti Geographic Information System (GIS) database centre was opened in 2003 as a result of a collaborative initiative from FZS, TANAPA and the Serengeti Biocomplexity Programme. The GIS centre supports the responsible management of the Serengeti National Park by providing a system of collecting, analyzing and reporting on events pertaining to the ecosystem. The GIS centre is where all data from the Serengeti and other FZS projects are collected, processed and provided to park managers, scientists, conservationists and government agencies. Data includes all data collected through ecological monitoring, from animal censuses and research projects, as well as the field data collected by park rangers, who are now equipped with GPS units and digital cameras.
FZS supports all protection activities of the Tanzania Wildlife Division in the Maswa Game Reserve in the southern part of the Serengeti Ecosystem. This includes the training of capable local administration and protection staff, border demarcation, conservation education and support of the local communities, maintenance of ranger vehicles and provision of ranger equipment, as well as involvement of the reserve in the “Wildlife Management Area” process in Makao.
FZS has supported the locally administered Pasiansi Ranger Training School since it was established by Prof. Bernhard Grzimek. FZS support guarantees that the school can deliver a solid, practical ranger training that enables Tanzanian rangers to protect their area efficiently. FZS also ensures the maintenance of ranger posts and vehicles and provides ranger equipment (uniforms, boots).
By supporting Prof. Anthony Sinclair’s Serengeti biodiversity research, FZS aims to preserve the biodiversity of the Serengeti Ecosystem. To conserve biodiversity and reverse its decline it is necessary to locate the factors causing the decline and understand the ecosystem processes that apply to the area. As nearly all research in the Serengeti since 1958 has concentrated on large mammals, the Serengeti Biodiversity Project is aiming to develop a new focus on aspects not yet covered:
- Objective 1: Inventory (as far as is feasible) the different ecological zones of the Serengeti ecosystem, starting where the need and expertise are greatest and focusing on indicator groups (butterflies, birds, fish, amphibians) that are sensitive to environmental change. Ecosystem processes being investigated are long-term natural change, effects of natural disturbance (fire and grazing) and the effect of human disturbance (effect of agriculture on biodiversity, effect of rodents/small carnivores on disease transmission between wildlife, domestic animals and humans).
- Objective 2: Investigate the decline (failed regeneration) of riverine forests on the Mara river, as well as to document the plant and animal species that occur in this habitat.
- Objective 3: Continue the long-term population work (recruitment, mortality, migratory and census data) on all the large ungulate species, as well as the anti-poaching efforts that are coordinated with TANAPA wardens and rangers and the Serengeti GIS and Database Centre.
The Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) was founded in the 60s by Prof. Bernhard Grzimek, and is responsible, under other things, for the coordination of all wildlife research in Tanzania. FZS contributions are mainly used to promote the conservation-orientated research of Tanzanian scientists. Specifically, FZS support for TAWIRI includes:
- Carrying out animal censuses in the Serengeti Ecosystem
- Supporting the participation of TAWIRI scientists in international scientific conferences
- Supporting the biannual TAWIRI Conference held in Tanzania.
- Supporting the publication of scientific papers
- Supporting TAWIRI headquarter facilities (donation of computers, office equipment)
FZS supports all rhino protection and monitoring activities in the Moru area of the Serengeti National Park, including constant surveillance and shielding from tourism interference, in an effort to increase the black rhino population in the Serengeti. FZS provides vehicles, training, observation posts and equipment to the ranger force responsible for the rhinos. For more information on FZS rhino conservation projects, please click here.