Habitat fragmentation, livelihoods and conservation : implications for Tarangire National Park.
This study set out to investigate habitat fragmentation and its implications for wildlife conservation. It focused on Emboreet Ward in the Arusha region of Tanzania, which is in close proximity to the Tarangire National Park. This area, traditionally occupied by the Maasai pastoralists, has undergone several changes, not least of which are changes in the local livelihoods in response to a need for cash and deterioration of state support for animal health care. Dominating these changes is a shift in livelihood strategies from pastoralism to a mix of pastoralism and cropping. Increasingly, land is being cultivated and agricultural opportunities are changing lifestyles, livelihoods and habitat integrity for wildlife. Fragmentation of habitats outside the national park has serious implications for the future of pastoralism and conservation, especially since some species of wildlife migrate seasonally between this park and the adjoining plains. It also has significance for the Maasai whose approach to domestic livestock management is deeply rooted in a culture that does not comfortably accord with the market economy. The study adopted a case study approach, was mainly qualitative, and relied on both primary and secondary data sources. Interviews played a critical part in sourcing primary data from the respondents. Documentary analysis was critical to gathering secondary data. The study shows the future of Tarangire National Park to be intricately woven into the complex and dynamic interaction between the changing economy, the responses of the Maasai whose culture separates them from the market economy, migrants into the area, and the government agencies whose intentions appear to be neither clearly expressed nor interpreted. The study concludes that empowerment lies at the heart of the envisaged change. This is shown to be a necessity for all stakeholders operating within a proposed integrating structure.