Priority primates

priority primates

Tanzania is home to the highest number of threatened primate taxa in mainland Africa. Given the ever-increasing pressure on natural resources presented by human population growth and development, the prioritisation of conservation interventions is vital. Using Tanzania as a model, WCS devised a novel approach (similar to Important Bird Areas) to prioritise primate conservation. The ‘Priority Primate Areas’ concept enabled WCS to demonstrate that adequate protection of just 9 sites, totalling 8,679 square km, would protect all 27 of Tanzania’s nocturnal and diurnal primate species.


Conserving Tanzania’s elephants


Elephants once populated almost the entire African continent, but now only remain in pockets of protected habitat. Tanzania is home to the second largest elephant population in Africa after Botswana. Only savanna elephants are found in Tanzania. These majestic animals are a keystone species, integral to the survival of the ecosystem and crucial to the livelihoods of communities within and around it. It is estimated that each living elephant can generate $1.6 million to its local economy (iWorry).
WCS’s elephant conservation work focusses on 3 landscapes – Ruaha-Rungwa-Katavi, Tarangire-Simanjiro and southern Tanganyika, and comprises long term research, habitat protection, community conservation, law enforcement, policy development, training and education, advocacy and awareness raising.

Conserving landscapes and species

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The Wildlife Conservation Society has been working in Tanzania for many years, carrying out a vast range of activities, including training, scientific research, monitoring, institutional support, education, community development and the creation and management of protected areas. All our projects aim to maximize benefits for both ecosystems and people. While we address environmental issues nationwide, we focus on 5 priority landscapes, and 9 priority species – as illustrated in this infographic.

Whales and dolphins of Tanzania

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Environmental education is a key component of all WCS’s projects across the country. Much remains unknown about many of the species found in Tanzania – such as their behaviour, population numbers, habitat, food sources and threats. Applied knowledge is crucial for their protection, so science underpins all of WCS’s work. This poster was inspired by WCS marine research and is part of our ongoing series of educational materials. Copies are available from WCS Tanzania. Please email

Tanzania’s endangered species

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#Tanzania is home to the highest number of endangered #species in mainland Africa, and the 7th highest total in the world. These 1084, classified by the IUCN Red List in 2016, comprise 8 classes of species. Over half are plants (56%) followed by fish (16%) and other invertebrates (11%) such as worms, insects, crustaceans and spiders. However, in all classes apart from mammals and birds there are many species that have not yet been assessed, and undoubtedly many species await scientific discovery and description. As a consequence, the actual totals will be much higher. The full breakdown is shown in this infographic.

Global threatened biodiversity

global threatened biodiversity

IUCN Red List 2016 figures show that #Tanzania is home to the 7th highest number of threatened species in the world. This includes Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable species of animals and plants. Especially given the significantly larger geographical area of some of the other top 10, this demonstrates how exceptional Tanzania’s #biodiversity is. It also sadly highlights the threats faced by these species and the urgent need to safeguard their survival. WCS works in 5 key landscapes across the country to achieve this through science, protected area design and management, education and community conservation.