Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 1861–1881 | Cite as

Co-existence between the traditional societies and wildlife in western Serengeti, Tanzania: its relevancy in contemporary wildlife conservation efforts

  • Jafari R. KidegheshoEmail author
Original Paper


This paper seeks to show how the traditional societies in western Serengeti have coexisted and continue to coexist with wildlife. It also recognizes the relevancy of this coexistence in furthering contemporary conservation efforts although there are practical constraints to putting this into practice. The following questions are examined: (1) How did/do traditional societies in Serengeti interact with their nature? (2) Which traditional management institutions governed/govern interaction between people and wildlife species, resources and ecosystems and, how do they operate? (3) Which factors were (or are) responsible for erosion of traditional management institutions? (4) What can the traditional practices offer to contemporary conservation efforts and what are the limitations? The paper identifies four ways in which traditional institutions and practices can contribute to current conservation efforts: regulating the overexploitation of resources; complementing the current incentives aiming at diffusing prevailing conflicts between conservation authorities and communities; minimising the costs of law enforcement and; complementing the modern scientific knowledge in monitoring and responding to ecosystem processes and functions. The practical constraints likely to limit adoption of these practices are presented as: methodological complications of acquiring indigenous knowledge; prevailing historical conflicts; human population growth; poverty and lack of appreciation among the conservation planners and managers. In conclusion the need to address the current constraints in order to achieve effective taping of the existing potentials is emphasized.


Western Serengeti Tanzania Traditional societies Ethnic groups Wildlife conservation Totemic or sacred species Taboos Indigenous knowledge Sustainable utilisation 



I am deeply indebted to Professor Eivin Røskaft and Dr Bjørn P. Kaltenborn for constructive criticisms on the manuscript. Financial support for this study was granted by the Norwegian Council for Higher Education’s Programme for Development Research and Education (NUFU) through the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) collaborative project on the capacity building for Wildlife Department. I am also grateful to the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) for granting permission to conduct this study, the Serengeti Regional Conservation Project (SRCP) for accommodation and other support during the entire period of research work. Thanks are also due to my beloved wife and research assistant, Mrs Raskina J Kideghesho who participated actively in data collection. I also wish to recognise the elders and other individuals in Western Serengeti for their willingness to share with me their wealth of experience and knowledge on wildlife issues. Lastly, but not least, I am thankful to two anonymous reviewers for constructive inputs, which have immensely shaped this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildlife ManagementSokoine University of Agriculture (SUA)MorogoroTanzania

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