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The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William has visited Tanzania’s College of African Wildlife Management (CAWM), Mweka, as part of his current visit to Africa as President of United for Wildlife.
The Duke included a visit to the College of African Wildlife Management where he took part in an exercise as part of SMART training at the college being supported by United for Wildlife and implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The project aims to establish CAWM as a regional center for SMART-focused protected area management training in East Africa and will build on the initial support provided to the programme by United for Wildlife.
SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) is a multi-pronged approach for maximizing the effectiveness of anti-poaching activities and protected area management efforts, all of which is based on a free, open-source software package and an app for smartphones and tablets. The platform allows rangers and other frontline conservationists to collect, store, communicate, and analyze data on illegal activities, biodiversity, patrol routes, and management actions.
The College, which is located on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, has been working on the training initiative for SMART since 2017, and this additional funding will enable WCS and CAWM to continue sharing SMART training and supporting CAWM as a regional hub for SMART.
During his visit, The Duke was shown a number of SMART-related activities that are covered in the training courses supported by the United for Wildlife funding including: how data are collected through a live patrol exercise around the College campus; data processing; and use of the information for adaptive management. The project brings United for Wildlife, of which WCS is a member, and the College together to help improve management of protected areas in Tanzania, East Africa and beyond.
“Protected area managers and frontline staff require new tools and technologies to help fight poaching and illegal wildlife trade. SMART is emerging as one of the valuable tools that can help in this effort,” Dr. Oliver Nyakunga, Acting Deputy Rector of Academics, Research and Consultancy at CAWM, Mweka said. “It was a privilege to welcome The Duke to our campus and to include him in some of the training efforts that we have been using with SMART so that our students who are rangers, park and game wardens, game officers and data managers may all benefit from learning this approach.”
Dr. Antony Lynam, WCS’s Regional Training Director for SMART, said: “The SMART approach has been successfully implemented to improve ranger performance and reduce poaching in important landscapes for tigers, lions, elephants, and primates in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka is an ideal venue for this training as conservation staff from Tanzania, and East Africa, come to train there. It is incredibly exciting to learn that there will be additional funds to continue this work.”
Dr. Naomi Doak, Head of Conservation Programmes at The Royal Foundation and United for Wildlife, said: “United for Wildlife is incredibly pleased to be providing further support to this valuable work at The College. It has been a real privilege to visit and see some of the training being delivered and to hear first-hand from both past and present students how valuable this training is. The support and training being offered will hopefully help support rangers on the front line with the crucial skills they need to succeed."
SMART has emerged as the leading method for monitoring wildlife law enforcement and protected areas around the globe. It is being implemented in more than 600 sites across 55 countries and has a national government mandate in 12 countries worldwide. Utilized by rangers and community guards, SMART is now a powerful tool for protecting wildlife across Africa.
Led by WCS’s Antony Lynam, head of the SMART Training Taskforce, and assisted by WCS Tanzania staff Mustafa Hassanali and Ally Bakari, the training program is introducing courses that will be developed into modules for the Technician Certificate, Ordinary Diploma, Bachelor and Postgraduate courses at the College. The SMART East Africa training of trainers programme is managed by a team of four College staff--Dr. Oliver Nyakunga, Henry Njovu, Rudolf Mremi and Neema Robert. Two training sessions have been conducted to date, with 28 participants including some of the staff from the College, Tanzanian wildlife management authorities (TAWA, TANAPA, TAWIRI), Mozambique and local NGOs.
WCS Tanzania WCS has been working in Tanzania since 1956, and with a permanent presence since 1999. The WCS Tanzania Program currently employs 130 staff working in 5 priority landscapes across the country, focusing on protected area design and management, community based conservation, environmental education and tree planting. True to the legacy of WCS worldwide, the program has strong scientific roots, with research underpinning all its work to protect species and habitats as well as maximizing community benefits from natural resources management. WCS Tanzania has been instrumental in pioneering SMART in Tanzania, where it is currently being used to improve conservation in national parks, game reserves and wildlife management areas across WCS landscapes including Ruaha-Rungwa-Katavi and Tarangire-Simanjiro.
About CAWM The College of African Wildlife Management (CAWM) in Mweka (www.mwekawildlife.ac.tz) was established in 1963. It is one of Africa’s leading institutions in providing training on wildlife management and wildlife tourism. CAWM is a recipient of UNEP’s Sasakawa Prize (1986), East African Community’s Center of Excellency in Wildlife Management among other distinctions. It offers short and long courses in wildlife management/tourism at certificate, diploma, bachelor and post-graduate level. Its >20,000 alumni from 51 countries (28 African) work in wildlife organizations across Tanzania and abroad. CAWM also has a strong track record of coordinating or participating in large projects and is actively involved in forming national wildlife management policy for Tanzanian protected areas.
About United for Wildlife United for Wildlife works to tackle illegal wildlife trade by bringing together conservation organisations, governments, and global corporations. Led by The Duke of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation, United for Wildlife is working to protect endangered species like elephants, rhinos, tigers and pangolins so they can share our world with future generations. Together we: Support new and innovative ways to protect animals against poachers, Combine forces to crack down on trafficking, and Change global mind sets and reduce demand. To learn more about the work of United for Wildlife visit: https://www.unitedforwildlife.org/
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