Famous Selous Reserve starts aerial census for big mammals

Selous Game Reserve is one of Africa’s largest protected areas and internationally recognised as a Unesco world heritage site, it recently been confronted with a myriad of environmental challenges.

Driven by the dwindling number of big game in the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem in Southern Tanzania, the country has announced an aerial wildlife census.

The count mainly targets large mammals like elephants, buffaloes and rhinos in the vast ecosystem.

The survey, which uses a sample count method called Systematic Reconnaissance Flight (SRF) will extend to giraffes, warthogs and antelopes like elands, greater kudu and sable.

It also seeks to estimate wildlife distribution and check for signs of illegal human activities such as poaching, animal grazing and logging in Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi National Park and the Selous-Niassa corridor.

This, Tanzanian wildlife agencies say, will in turn speed up the provision effective protection and management mechanisms and the protection of natural resources in the reserve as well as selected communities.

With the information gathered, the survey will provide data for evaluation of wildlife populations and trends in the ecosystem.

The three-week census will be jointly carried out by the Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute, Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority and Tanzania National Park in partnership with the Frankfurt Zoological Society.

It is implemented as part of the Selous Ecosystem Conservation and Development Programme, which is funded by the republic of Tanzania and the Federal Republic of Germany.

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