To a sustainable coexistence

in Gongo

Project status: IN PROGRESS

Main objective: Improving human-wildlife coexistence, reforestation and protection of the wildlife corridor on the outskirts of the Saadani National Park, Tanzania.

Presentation of local partners: Costa Coucoulis, founder of Saving Africa’s Nature Association (SANA) in charge of community development and alternatives to the deforestation of the Gongo forest.

Local community of Gongo village.

HISA team:

– Project managers : Perrine Crosmary and Margaux Babola.

– Volunteer : Lucas Mestre in charge of the monitoring protocols of Colobus populations (Colobus guereza) and the surveyx of forest communities and villages.

 

 

 

 

Cornfields having replaced plots of the Gongo Forest, once populated by lions and other wildlife.

 

 

 

 

Sector around the Gongo village after cutting wood.

 

 

 

 

Coconut crops damaged by elephants.

 

 

 

 

Elephant intrusion in the village.

 

 

 

Photos taken by trap cameras installed by our team on the outskirts of the village.

Our local actions :

  • Wildlife damage assessment (crops and harvests) / data collection on human-wildlife conflict (locals surveys).
  • Track and record all signs of the fauna presence on the sector dedicated to the wildlife corridor.

Prospect 2019-2020 :

October-November 2019 :
  • Feasibility study for protecting crops against wild animals.
  • Determining clear areas to buy in order to reforest and allow passage of animals.
  • Camera-trap installation to identify all species present around the biological corridor.

The Gongo village :

The village today has almost 2000 inhabitants composed mainly of farm families who grow pineapple, coconut, maize, etc.).

Thanks to the involvement of Costa Coucoulis and his team for years, and the substantial help of his association for the improvement of the living conditions of the communities (creation of a school, dispensary, creation of direct jobs and tourist attraction on the Miseni site), communities have become aware of the importance of conserving the forest and its fauna.

 

2 YEARS OF ONGOING EFFORT HAS RESULTED IN THE RETURN OF ELEPHANT HERDS

But their return is not without consequences for the agricultural activity of the community. Indeed, the losses related to their return to the crops and the fields of the inhabitants is particularly important, according to the data collected from the villagers, by our volunteer on the spot: Lucas Mestre.

To find a solution of coexistence, reconciling community activity and the return of elephants, HISA then offered its help to find solutions to mitigate, or prevent the destruction of crops by elephants and other species present on the site (baboons, bush pigs, etc.). Our initiatives will be part of the “Encosh” solution-sharing program to improve human-wildlife coexistence.

We hope to begin our crop protection actions and appropriate development in April / May 2020.

After the field surveys carried out in June 2019 and the feasibility study that we will carry out next October and November, we will be able to put in place a comprehensive program for the protection of crops and wildlife.

Following this study, we will fundraise and implement the solutions as early as April 2020, before the next rainy season, during which the human-wildlife conflicts are the most intense.

The king’s return :

Since the efforts of Tanzanian park authorities against elephant poaching at the national level, as well as the efforts of our local partner SANA, led by Costa Coucoulis, elephants have returned to the periphery of the park. This is Costa Coucoulis’s first success because they had fled the area of Gongo for years!

“The buffaloes are back as well as the leopard hunting around the Miseni ecolodge. By protecting the forest and creating a positive wildlife attraction, villagers say they are ready to continue working for their return and safety in the Gongo Forest. “

 

“Fifteen years ago, the lion was roaring where right here in these maize fields that used to be all forest. Like many other farmers, I am hopeful that one day I will hear him roar.”

Costa Coucoulis