Wildlife on Darakuta
Darakuta Ranch is home to a vast array of flora and fauna, and works actively towards conserving biodiversity and wildlife.
Darakuta Game Ranch
Darakuta's 17,500 acres are nestled against the base of the Rift Valley south of Lake Manyara in north-central Tanzania. The Kou River and numerous streams flow through Darakuta on their way down the escarpment, shaping a diverse range of habitats from wet riverine forests to ephemeral swamps and hilly wooded grasslands.
These diverse habitats have long been a haven for a manifold array of flora and fauna, and since the late 1980’s, we have focused on ecologically friendly ranching based on traditional Maasai grazing practices, to promote the coexistence of livestock and wildlife. However, as in the rest of the world, a growing human population, climate change and diminishing wildlife areas have led to increasing poaching pressure on Darakuta. Since the year 2000 we have had permanent patrols monitoring the entire ranch. The number of snares removed has dropped year by year and the number of waterbuck, reedbuck, duiker, hyena and leopard has grown. Despite these successes, pressure from poaching is still growing, as is pressure from wood-fuel harvesting and illegal grazing.
In order to effectively protect the wildlife and habitats within Darakuta against these increasing pressures, and eventually reintroduce the species that were lost from the area, we are working together closely with the surrounding communities and several wildlife conservation organisations like Asilia Africa Ltd, the PAMS Foundation and Friends of Serengeti to establish Darakuta Game Ranch.
Darakuta Game Ranch would provide a multitude of benefits for both wildlife and local communities. Situated within the greater Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem between the Nou Forest and the Burunge Wildlife Management area, Darakuta Game Ranch would provide an important link for wildlife connectivity in the area and provide an example of livestock and wildlife coexistence. Protection of Darakuta’s riparian habitats and wooded grasslands promotes biodiversity as well as basic ecosystem services related to water purity and soil retention. Even now Darakuta’s intact riparian zone and soil cover provide a crucial attenuation of the torrential runoff from the degraded and overgrazed land on the Rift Valley above Darakuta before it reaches the villages below. To tackle poaching and illegal logging and grazing, we are working with Asilia Africa Ltd and the PAMS Foundation to train two teams of five rangers chosen from the surrounding communities. In addition to the support we already give local schools through provision of building materials and scholarships, we aspire that the patrol team will provide the local communities with both an alternative income source to bushmeat hunting as well as with ambassadors that will promote wildlife conservation and the coexistence of livestock and wildlife.
We hope the example given by Darakuta Game Ranch will promote the formation of other wildlife friendly areas and ameliorate wildlife connectivity throughout the region.
The Darakuta Wildlife Protection Association
To provide long-term financial assistance for our conservation efforts at Darakuta Game Ranch, we have established a registered association based in Switzerland: the Darakuta Wildlife Protection Association.
All proceeds from the association go directly towards Darakuta Game Ranch operating costs, including ranger patrol team training and salaries, wildlife monitoring and management (e.g. fencing, the purchase and translocation of wildlife), and conservation and research projects.