These are chosen for their ecological importance, degree of threat, endemism, iconic status, value in catalysing conservation action and historical links with WCS’s work.
Tanzania is home to the 10th highest total number of IUCN Red Listed threatened species in the world.
According to the 2021 classification it has 1,422 Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable species listed - the most threatened biodiversity of any country on the African continent.
These figures reflect Tanzania’s high number of endemic species as well as the threats to them. For example 360 reptiles species are known to date in Tanzania, of which 85 are endemic. 206 amphibian species are known, of which 86 are endemic. Of these reptiles, 27 were discovered since 2000 and 43 of the amphibian species - indicating it is very likely there are many more species still to be discovered.
There are many issues that affect conservation in Tanzania. These include poverty, education, human and wildlife health, population growth, sustainable development pressures, land use planning, and technical and financial capacity. WCS strives to engage these key issues in its conservation work, all with a view to helping Tanzania conserve its extraordinary wildlife and environment.
Species face many threats including habitat loss and fragmentation, human wildlife conflict, hunting and other unsustainable natural resource management, poaching and collection for the wildlife trade. Climate change is increasingly having a negative effect on Tanzania's biodiversity too.
Key aspects of our conservation work include advocacy, priority setting and land use planning on a national level along with education and awareness raising, research and monitoring, training and capacity building, law enforcement support, community and livelihood support, protected area design & management and community based natural resource management at the landscape level. Our species conservation is rooted in these approaches.