With The TVCT's strong community work approach, we are often asked how we are contributing to the conservation of animals and their habitats. The short answer is that for humans and animals to coexist alongside each other it is crucial that we recognise the importance of leaving space for the wildlife to continue living in their natural habitat, and the increasing lack of space due to huge population growth is now becoming the biggest threat to wildlife in Africa.
This year the population of Africa will reach 1.3 billion, and according to the latest UN projections, it is set to grow to 4.5 billion by the end of the century. With this growth comes a whole host of environmental and social impacts, namely unprecedented levels of land transformation and deforestation. In turn we will also see increasing poverty, declining food security and unemployment, and of course the increasing pressure on the land that is yet to be developed, and currently inhabited by wildlife.
The TVCT's focus on conservation, therefore is more about the alternative strategies that are needed to sustain the coexistence and livelihood of both the local people and wildlife. We think that the best solution is to get to the root of the problem, and this unfortunately goes a lot deeper than just anti poaching alone.
We handpick and fund projects that focus purely on the people surrounding natural areas. Community health workers travel the areas we cover, offering healthcare and family planning options, educating people about the importance of living within their own means and within the means of what the land they live on can sustain, in order to create brighter futures for both local communities and the land they occupy.
The article linked below expresses the terrifying findings of a 40 year study carried out by the University of Gronigen. They concluded that in the last decade alone in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem there has been a 400% increase in the human population, which has resulted in a 75% decrease in the wildlife population!
Dr Colin Beale, from the University of York's Department of Biology stated, "Protected areas across East Africa are under pressure from a wide range of threats. Our work shows that encroachment by people should be considered just as serious a challenge as better known issues such as poaching and climate change."
We are delighted not to be alone in recognising the importance to promote sustainability and reduce the ever increasing encroachment and development on the last remaining natural habitats for wildlife.
Along with other projects already ongoing, the TVCT has teamed up with CHASE Africa and The Maa Trust and will be funding a community project in the Mara, beginning in the Mara this year. Our mission is to warn local communities that the crucial Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is at huge risk from the ever increasing pressure and encroachment on its borders, and help them strive for a more sustainable approach to their futures.