Bison, zebras, and other wildlife graze on the African savanna Bison, zebras, and other wildlife graze on the African savanna

Tanzania Conservation Research Program

A zebra grazes on the African savanna

The Tanzania Conservation Research Program protects threatened wildlife and helps people and wildlife coexist in Tanzania, Africa. Program researchers work with partners in the greater Tarangire ecosystem to identify and protect land that is critical to both wildlife and local communities who practice free-range pastoralism. Wildlife migration data is integrated into local land-use planning and land protection efforts. Zoo researchers also work with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), the Tanzanian government’s wildlife research agency, to collect data on mammal distribution throughout the country, contribute to a national mammal database, and update national mammal range maps.

Areas of Focus

Protecting Corridors in Tarangire

This project focuses on the greater Tarangire ecosystem in northern Tanzania, an area spanning nearly 8,000 square miles. The wildlife in the ecosystem disperses widely on a seasonal basis, concentrating along the Tarangire River in Tarangire National Park during the dry season and migrating to nutrient- and mineral-rich areas on community lands outside the park during the wet season. These critical wildlife areas—and the community’s grazing lands—are under threat due to the conversion of land to agriculture.

Researchers with the Tanzania Conservation Research Program have partnered with a local organization, the Ujamaa Community Resource Team, to help communities safeguard important grazing areas while also keeping these areas open for migrating wild animals. The ultimate goal is to help protect the ecological integrity of the ecosystem by maintaining connectivity.

Updating the Tanzania Mammal Atlas Database

Tanzania has an extremely rich diversity and density of large mammals, hosting the largest global concentrations of many iconic African mammal species, such as lions, wild dogs, zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, and buffalos. However, despite these riches, there are still knowledge gaps on the distribution and status of large mammals in the country.

Researchers with the Tanzania Conservation Research Program are working with partners to create a national database for mammal data, which will be used to update range maps and species lists, as well as help prioritize areas for conservation action. This information helps managers of protected areas better understand the mammal biodiversity within their regions and provides an important repository for information on the diversity and distribution of mammals throughout the country.


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  • Lobora, A.L., C.L. Nahonyo, L.K. Munishi, T. Caro, C. Foley, C.M. Beale. 2017. Modeling habitat conversion in miombo woodlands: insights from Tanzania. Journal of Land Use Science 12(5):391-403.
  • Davenport, T.R.B., S. Fakih, S. Kimiti, L. Kleine, L. Foley, D. DeLuca. 2017. Zanzibar’s endemic red colobus Pilicolous kirkii: first systematic and total assessment of population, demography, and distribution. Oryx, 1-9. doi:10.1017/S003060531700148X.
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  • Hedges, S., R. Beyers, S. Blake, I. Douglas-Hamilton, M. Fay, D. Greer, V. Fishlock, C. Foley, F. Grossmann, J. Hart, T. Hart, C. Hicks, S. Lahm, P. Lee, K. Lindsay, F. Maisels, C. Moss, S. Nixon, A. Plumptre, J. Poole, H. Rainey, I. Redmond, M. Starkey, E. Stokes, A. Turkalo, and G. Wittemyer. (2009). The Status of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: A Critique. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
  • Pettorelli, N., A. L. Lobora, M. J. Mshua, C.A.H. Foley, S.M. Durant. 2009. Carnivore biodiversity in Tanzania: revealing the distribution patterns of secretive mammals using camera traps. Animal Conservation 13:131-139.
  • Foley, C.A.H and L. Faust. 2010. Rapid population growth in an elephant (Loxodonta africana) population recovering from poaching in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Oryx 44(2): 205-212.
  • Nelson, F., C. Foley, L. Foley, A. Leposo, E. Loure, D. Peterson, M. Peterson, T. Peterson, H. Sachedina, A. Williams. 2009. Payments for Ecosystem Services as a Framework for Community-Based Conservation in Northern Tanzania. Conservation Biology 24(1): 78-85.
  • TAWIRI. 2009. Tanzania Carnivore Conservation Action Plan. S.M Durant, C.A.H. Foley, A. Lobora, M. Msuha, S. Mduma, L. Foley (eds.). Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Arusha, Tanzania.
    Foley, C., N. Pettorelli, L. Foley. 2008. Severe drought and calf survival in elephants. Biology Letters 4(5): 541-544.
  • Ishengoma, D., A. Shedlock, C.A.H. Foley, L. Foley, S. Wasser, S. Balthazary, B. Mutayoba. 2008. Effects of poaching on bull mating success in free-ranging African elephant (Loxodonta africana) population of Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Conservation Genetics 9:247-255.
  • Stanley, William T. and Charles A.H. Foley, 2008. A survey of the small mammals of Minziro Forest, Tanzania, with several additions to the known fauna of the country. Mammalia 72:116–122.
  • Svadlenak-Gomez, K., T. Clements, C. Foley, N. Kazakov, D. Miquelle, R. Stenhouse. 2007. Paying for Results: The WCS Experience with Direct Incentives for Conservation. In Protected Areas and Human Livelihoods, K. Redford and E. Fearn (ed.). WCS Working Paper No 32: 117-129.
  • E.A Archie, T.A Morrison, C.A.H. Foley, C.J. Moss, S.C. Alberts. 2006. Dominance rank relationships among wild female African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Animal Behaviour 71:117-127.
  • Foley, C.A.H. 2003. Demographic changes in the Tarangire elephant population from 1993-2003. In eds. W.D. Semuguruka, M.N. Mgasa., L.J.M. Kusiluka, G. Nkwengulila, B. Nyundo, C.O. Mlingwa, G. Sabuni, S. Mduma, and J.D. Keyyu, Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Scientific Conference; TAWIRI, Arusha, Dec. 3-5, 2002. Pp 76-89.
  • Foley, C.A.H. 2002. The Effects of Poaching on Elephant Social Systems. PhD thesis. Princeton University. pp.192.
  • Foley, C.A.H. 2002. High incidence of elephant twin births in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Pachyderm 32:64-66.
  • L. Foley. 2002. The Influence of Environmental Factors and Human Activity on Elephant Distribution. MSc thesis. International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC).
  • Foley, C.A.H., S. Papageorge, S.K. Wasser. 2001. Non-invasive stress and reproductive measures of social and ecological pressures in free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Conservation Biology 15(4):1134-1142.
  • Galanti, V., R. Rossi, G. Tosi, C.A.H. Foley, and L. Foley. 2000. Elephant Capture, Collaring and Radio-Tracking in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Pachyderm 28:58-59.
  • Galanti, V., G. Tosi, R. Rossi, C.A.H. Foley. 2000. The use of GPS radio-collars to track elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Tarangire National Park (Tanzania). Hystrix 11(2):1-11.
  • Van de Vijver, C., C.A.H. Foley and H. Olff. 1999. Changes in the woody component of an East African savanna during 25 years. Journal of Tropical Ecology 15:545-564.
  • Wasser, S.K., S. Papageorge, C.A.H. Foley, J.L. Brown. 1996. Excretory fate of estradiol and progesterone in the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) and patterns of fecal steroid concentrations throughout the estrous cycle. General and Comparative Endocrinology 102:255-262.
  • Grimshaw, J.M., N.J. Cordeiro and C.A.H. Foley. 1995. The mammals of Kilimanjaro. Journal of East African Natural History 84:105-139.
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  • Cameron, R., C. Wiltshire, C. Foley, N. Dougherty, X. Aramoyo, and L. Rea. 1989. Goeldi’s monkey and other primates in Northern Bolivia. Primate Conservation 10:62-70.