Forest, Wildlife Conservation Critical To Tanzania’s Future
The first President of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, recognized the integral part that wildlife plays in the country. In September 1961, at a symposium on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, he gave a speech that has become known as the Arusha Manifesto. The statement resonates across most of Africa today:
“The survival of our wildlife is a matter of grave concern to all of us in Africa. These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a source of wonder and inspiration, but are an integral part of our natural resources and our future livelihood and wellbeing. In accepting the trusteeship of our wildlife we solemnly declare that we will do everything in our power to make sure that our children’s grand-children will be able to enjoy this rich and precious inheritance. The conservation of wildlife and wild places calls for specialist knowledge, trained manpower, and money, and we look to other nations to cooperate with us in this important task – the success or failure of which not only affects the continent of Africa but the rest of the world as well.”
The situation was crystal clear to local leaders 50 years ago and it’s almost haunting to read Tanzania’s manifesto in the midst of the regional crisis today. Of course, it’s not just about wildlife. It’s not just about Africa. It’s about biodiversity and sustainability of the human race. We don’t have time to waste. Momentum is building against the web of life and we have an unprecedented chance to draw a line in the dirt in Africa. Some courageous visionaries in Kenya and Tanzania have stepped up with comprehensive plans that can make a difference. With your help, they are ready to make a difference that can span the globe.