Tanzania: Effect of trade in wildlife on wild populations.

OUOrganisation: Open University of Tanzania

Named researchers/programme personnel: Paulo Wilfred.

Target species: Bushmeat species.

Outline of research/programme:

In Tanzania, wildlife is a key traded community at the local, national and international level. Wildlife is used and traded for food and income by local communities, managed for trophy hunting and meat in wildlife management areas (WMA’s), and is vital for the tourism industry in Protected Areas. Key wildlife species are also legally traded internationally under CITES, as well as illegally traded on the black market.

rangers and Paulo
Paulo and a ragner reading a GPS unit

These wildlife uses all interact with each other with, for example, the legal and illegal use of wild meat for local consumption drawing from the same wildlife populations as those used for trophy hunting in WMA’s. To determine the sustainability of wildlife trade in Tanzania, and how the benefits and costs of wildlife resources are shared among stakeholders, we must therefore aim to understand and map all of these different users, uses and impacts. Where this information is provided to and used by policy and decision-makers, wildlife policies can then be based on a better understanding of this multi-stakeholder system, and used to ensure wildlife management is both equitable and sustainable.

While information on the management and densities of Tanzania’s wildlife within PAs and WMAs has increased significantly over the past decade, there is still relatively little known about the local use of the same wildlife resource for wild meat. This project will aim to fill this information gap. It will also aim to estimate how local wild meat use varies by land management type and with access to local and regional markets. This will enable us to develop hypotheses as to how wild meat use is likely to change in the future, under different demographic, economic and land-use scenarios.



Giraffe in Ugalla Game Reserve, 2018 photo by Ugalla GR
Giraffe in Ugalla Game Reserve, 2018 photo by Ugalla GR
  • To identify wildlife species involved in wildmeat hunting in selected sites in Tanzania
  • To estimate wild meat offtake and consumption levels by local communities
  • To estimate densities of key wild meat species at different levels of hunting intensity
  • To determine socio-economic costs and benefits of hunting for local communities
  • To investigate the influence of market access and urban demand on wildmeat hunting in Tanzania
  • To identify the drivers and deterrents of hunting for legal and illegal hunters


Summary of planned activities:


Year 1:

  • Literature review.

This will involve baseline literature review of wildlife and wildlife products use, markets, and the ecological and social-economic implications of this use for each of the study sites.

  • Pilot surveys.

In each study site we will conduct pilot surveys to collect baseline data on the characteristics of each village, including levels of hunting activity and basic necessities. We will also test data collection approaches, and explore sites for ecological surveys.


Year 2 – 4:

  • Hunter follows.

Legal subsistence hunters will be accompanied by data collectors, or will carry a GPS unit on their hunting trip, to record information on species hunted (sex, age, and number), hunting destinations, and effort (distance walked).

  • Ecological surveys:

Ecological surveys will focus on species that are preferred by both poachers and legal subsistence hunters. Density estimates of the species will be determined in different protected area categories.


Throughout years 1-4

  • Training

We will run and participate in training sessions for researchers and data collectors throughout the 4-year project. This will be run in conjunction with the Central Africa TRADE hub capacity-building team (WP9) in Cameroon, who will be organising training sessions for all sites within the TRADE hub, and Oxford University, who will be organising trainings specific to WP1.


Project outputs:

  • Synthesis and meta-analysis of available quantitative information on wildmeat use by communities in Tanzania, including hunting offtakes, market sales and household consumption
  • New surveys of wildmeat trade chains and stakeholders conducted
  • Hunting offtakes and consumption levels in a representative range of sites across Tanzania are quantified, analysed and findings published
  • Species densities in a representative range of sites across Tanzania are quantified, analysed and published
  • Impacts of different levels of hunting pressure and wildlife use are understood
  • Project findings are made accessible to decision makers, conservation practitioners, and researchers



More about Paulo here