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Eastern Africa Rapid Response Grant

Protection of the Chumbe Island nature reserve from increased poaching threats due to COVID-19’s impacts on Zanzibar’s economy and Chumbe’s compromised park management, through the re-assignment of local rangers and skills development of youth fishers

Terrestrial Protected Area Privately Protected Area
Local Communities Youth Fishermen
Enforcement Illegal activities Awareness/education
Tanzania, Eastern Africa

Protected and conserved area(s) concerned

Chumbe Island Coral Park, WDPA ID: 72397, Zanzibar, Tanzania

The BIOPAMA AC Objectives addressed

Enhance the management and governance of priority protected areas by addressing existing limitations.

Support local communities’ initiatives aiming to enhance the livelihoods of local people whilst effectively contributing to protected areas management

Priority need addressed

Chumbe Island Coral Park is a not-for-profit private marine and terrestrial protected area in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Funded entirely by sustainable ecotourism, the park has been self-financing for more than 20 years. Due to COVID19 however, tourism came to a complete standstill in 2020 and is still nowhere near to pre-Covid numbers. We have had to put 29 out of 41 staff on unpaid leave and the remaining 12 staff have been working fulltime on a reduced salary to keep the park protected during these difficult times. This project will fund the salaries and patrol costs of the conservation team to keep the island protected and secure from poaching threats. 

Project activities

The following project activities will ensure that conservation management on Chumbe Island will continue, despite the fact that the eco-lodge still has limited to no bookings, and address the urgent threat on the marine park, Chumbe staff and local fishing communities:

  • Vital enforcement of a 55 ha no-take Coral Reef Sanctuary and a 17 ha Closed Forest Reserve and improvements in MPA patrols in order to safeguard Chumbe’s unique biodiversity and reduce the prevailing risk of wildlife poaching
  • Continuous protection of crucial biodiversity for the East African region and preservation of Chumbe’s important function as a fisheries nursery ground benefiting fishing communities through spillover and restocking of adjacent fishing grounds.
  • Continued full-time employment of the experienced conservation team who will implement optimal patrol efficiency and monitoring
  • Deployment of two additional security officers to assist with the enforcement and upholding of both protected areas during the worsening economic times
  • Continuation of the environmental education program with key fishing communities, neighbouring Chumbe Island
  • Skills development of local youth from key target fishing villages to be trained as rangers

The change the project implementation will bring for the protected area(s)

Most importantly, project implementation will allow for full patrol operations over the coming 12 months which will decrease poaching attempts inside the MPA and subsequently ensure that 25 years of successful conservation efforts are not lost. Moreover, eight previous Chumbe team members will receive full-time employment for the whole project duration, each supporting on average 12 dependents in their local communities. Zanzibari community members from neigbouring fishing villages will gain knowledge and practical insights in nature conservation through Chumbe’s extensive environmental education program which will positively impact compliance to MPA regulations. Especially young fishers, who are economically impacted by the pandemic, will be offered a skill development course with tangible skills that will increase their employability in conservation and marine tourism. Two motivated youth will have access to a six-month internship with the prospect of employment on Chumbe Island once the effects of the pandemic have subsided.  At least 15 local rangers from two other marine conservation areas in Unguja will benefit from the establishment of a Ranger Network with enhanced skills and knowledge in effective MPA management which will strengthen relationships and cooperation between the rangers.

Download the project infofiche.

Implementing organisations

Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd

Photo credits: © Tomasz Wieliczko © CHICOP © Ulli Kloiber

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