Management of forests and water resources in tandem makes for ideal hippo-habitat in one CBFM village

Hippo caught on camera in Ngea village forest reserve

This is the detail of Ngea land use plan

Africa is renowned for its abundant wildlife. Tanzania is among the most bio-diverse countries in the continent, boasting the greatest diversity of mammals at 364 species.

In the case of the Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), the population in East Africa alone is estimated at around 50,000 and, regionally, the largest populations are found in Tanzania. Despite this seemingly large number, hippos are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, on the basis of significant declines in their numbers between the 1990s and 2000s. The reliance of hippos on fresh-water habitats, together with the growing pressure on fresh water resources across Africa, appears to make them particularly vulnerable. Much of their habitat loss stems from water diversion related to agricultural development, as well as larger-scale development in and around wetland areas.

When MCDI expands our work to a new community, one of our first priorities, in close collaboration with local government authorities, is to support them to develop a comprehensive village land use plan. These land use plans identify key priority areas for sustainable management of forest and other water catchments, carefully and strategically distinguishing these from locations which will be prioritised for livestock grazing, agricultural production, and expansion of local settlements. Once case in hand is Ngea village which, in addition to its 9,521ha village forest reserve also boasts Lake Maliwe. This photo (on left side) of a hippopotamus captured on 10 November 2017 by a camera trap in Ngea's village forest reserve serves as a good indication that sustainable management of both the lake and nearby forests in tandem is working to preserve the unique and dynamic niches upon which this charismatic species relies.

Stay tuned for the next update in our animals caught on camera series!