LISTENING TO RAFIKI: THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF CONSERVATION IN TANZANIA
Author: Leila Barbeau
Graduation Year: 2017
Thesis Advisor: Christine Beitl
Description of Publication: Utilizing a "fortress conservation model" that emphasizes Western worldviews and divides nature and culture into separate realms, conservation efforts in Tanzania have disenfranchised many indigenous groups like the Maasai and placed their livelihoods at risk. In order for conservation to be a successful endeavor, efforts must take local and indigenous people into account and work to improve the understanding of the relationships between people, land, culture, and historical context. This thesis will explore the historical context and implications of the fortress conservation model, my personal experience with conservation issues while in Tanzania, alternative conservation models and their draw backs, autonomy in conservation management, and how societies can begin to reframe their conservation agendas. In order to ensure a sustainable future for Tanzania’s environment and people, conservation initiatives and solutions should aim to balance the needs and livelihoods of communities, while honoring the dignity and ancestral lifestyles of all citizens. It is vital that attention be re-focused on solving the conflicts between people and parks, otherwise a future full of further disenfranchisement, conflict and species extinction may become a reality: we must learn from the past, rather than run from it.
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