Assessing protected area effectiveness in western Tanzania: Insights from repeated line transect surveys

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


In many parts of East Africa, wildlife populations have declined over the past decades. Given these trends, site-based studies are needed to assess how protected areas with differing management strategies enable the effective conservation of wildlife populations. In Tanzania, game reserves are managed for tourist hunting, while national parks are managed for non-consumptive wildlife-based tourism. To assess the relative performance of these management strategies, we here focus on two areas: Rukwa Game Reserve (RGR) and Katavi National Park (KNP). Based on systematically designed line distance surveys in 2004 and 2021, we compared densities and group sizes of large mammal populations (African elephant, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, topi, and hartebeest) over time. Contrary to published ecosystem-wide declines observed in numerous species which considered earlier baselines, we did not detect significant population declines between 2004 and 2021. While these new results showing apparent stable populations do not invalidate earlier studies on wildlife declines, they could indicate a stabilisation phase after declines. This highlights the importance of considering appropriate temporal baselines and historical contexts when assessing conservation effectiveness.

ZeitschriftAfrican Journal of Ecology
Seiten (von - bis)966-979
Anzahl der Seiten14
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 11.2023

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
We thank Tanzania National Parks and the Tanzania Wildlife Division/Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority for facilitating these surveys and the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) for permissions (Research Permit # 2021‐372‐NA‐2021‐77). We greatly appreciate all rangers and support staff who participated in the line transect surveys. Financial support was provided by GTZ/ECO‐AGEG (2004 survey) and by the Robert‐Bosch Foundation (2021 survey). We greatly appreciate the comments of Tim Caro and an anonymous reviewer. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
African Journal of Ecology© 2023 The Authors. African Journal of Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.