Wildlife of Tanzania
The wildlife of Tanzania refers to the fauna of Tanzania. Tanzania contains some 20 percent of the species of Africa’s large mammal population, found across its reserves, conservation areas, marine parks, and 17 national parks, spread over an area of more than 42,000 square kilometres (16,000 sq mi) and forming approximately 38 percent of the country’s territory.
Wildlife resources of Tanzania are described as “without parallel in Africa” and “the prime game viewing country”. Serengeti National Park, the country’s second largest national park area at 14,763 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi), is located in northern Tanzania and is famous for its extensive migratory herds of wildebeests and zebra while also having the reputation as one of the great natural wonders of the world. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, established in 1959, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and inhabited by the Maasai people. Its Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact caldera in the world.
The national parks are also part of the wetlands of Tanzania. The wild animals tend to be closer to the wetlands, particularly the water loving species such as the hippopotamus, waterbuck, common warthog, elephant, crocodile, sitatunga as well as water birds such as flamingoes and ducks.
Since the colonial era, wildlife conservation in Tanzania has been the prerogative of the government. Under this structure, the use of wildlife resources by local communities had always been restrictive, causing increased rural poverty and poaching. In recent years, the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) has initiated corrective actions to involve the local community in conservation efforts, which is aimed at contribution to local economies by way of equitable benefits sharing.