NEW VISITOR CENTRE OUTSIDE SERENGETI TO BOOST TOURISM ACTIVITIES
Information was received over the weekend that the Ikona Wildlife Management Area, of which the Singita Grumeti Reserve is part, has now formally commissioned a new visitor centre, from which the entire area of some 26.000 hectars of land dedicated to wildlife conservation is to benefit. The centre was funded with support of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, a decades long donor to the Serengeti, the United States government and the World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF, but also received assistance from the tourism businesses located in the WMA, itself now a pioneer in community tourism programmes. Training of locals was also part of the setting up of the centre to provide much needed skills to the people from the area, instead of importing staff from other parts of Tanzania.
Wildlife Management Areas are a new approach to encouraging local communities to partner with investors and set aside land not overly productive in agriculture or ranching for wildlife conservation, aimed to create buffer zones for added protection of the main national parks and game reserves but also to spread economic benefits like jobs and tourism related income into villages which have previously been bypassed and ignored. Good conservation news from Tanzania, well worth applauding and making more widely known.