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"Experiences and Challenges of Wildlife Health Management in National Parks of Tanzania"

Titus Mlengeya and Vitalis Lyaruu

Wildlife populations and the natural lands they inhabit are the world’s foremost heritage. Tanzania is one of the countries with abundant biological diversity and a ‘high megafauna’ wildlife population. The wild species are given a high level of protection in over 28% of the country’s land area in the form of national parks, game reserves, game-controlled areas and forestry reserves. Through gradual development of tourism, wildlife is foreseen to have an important and growing economic role in poverty eradication for Tanzania. Wild species have been able to tolerate natural disasters, and their populations are known to rebound back to normal where the ecosystems are not disturbed. However, with the recent development of an increasing human population and human activities around protected areas, natural ecosystems have been greatly impacted and the well-being of animals compromised. Risks for disease transmission between wildlife, livestock and humans have increased significantly. Among the most challenging conditions include the giraffe ear disease, sexually-transmitted disease in baboons, skin infection in giraffe, human-related diseases in chimpanzees, and other human-livestock-wildlife conflicts.

For the last seven years, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has been developing a Wildlife Veterinary Unit to address the numerous up-and-coming wildlife health challenges. However, considering the expanse of the area and diversity of species to be covered, the ability of the Unit to address relevant issues is low. Factors affecting the Unit’s capabilities include: the small number of veterinary staff; inadequate skills; insufficient funding and equipment, and low awareness of the impact of diseases on wildlife systems among decision makers. Since most of the emerging diseases affect large ecosystems or even cross international boundaries, there is a need to strengthen local capacity to detect and identify disease threats, launch efficient reporting mechanisms, and foster concerted efforts to manage and mitigate the impacts of disease.


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Part 2 (19 MB)

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Biography for
Titus Mlengeya

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