The Mkomazi Project

A Magnificent African Wilderness

Mkomazi National Park is now a magnificent, 3,270 square kilometer park in Tanzania. Tony Fitzjohn and his team began their work in Mkomazi in 1989 and while it was recognized as a game park, it was in steep decline because of neglect and degradation of the land. Heavy poaching had wiped out its black rhino and elephant populations. Overgrazing, deliberate burning and illegal hunting had taken their toll. The Government of Tanzania re-examined the status of the Mkomazi Game Reserve to ensure the complete rehabilitation and reintroduction of its endangered species. The reserve was awarded National Priority Project status.

In 1989 the Government of Tanzania invited Tony Fitzjohn to work with it on habitat restoration and the reintroduction of endangered species. Roads, boundaries and airstrips were cleared, a radio network installed, water sources sited and pumped, dams constructed and de-silted, rangers recruited and equipped, and over 4,500 air hours flown on patrols.

A rhino sanctuary was constructed and stocked and the captive-breeding program for the African wild dog was established.

In 2008, in recognition of the importance of this ecosystem and the extraordinary breadth of work undertaken, the Government of Tanzania upgraded Mkomazi Game Reserve to National Park status, protecting it in perpetuity for the nation.

The result has been highly successful. One of the most fragile threatened and beautiful parts of Africa has been reborn. Years of hard work are paying a dividend and Tony and his team consider this project a huge win.

In 2019-2020, we successfully transitioned the Mkomazi project to our partner, the Tanzanian Parks Authority (TANAPA). Mkomazi is now safely under their stewardship and our Rhino and Wild Dog programs are well tended to and thriving with most of the staff that Tony trained and worked with, currently on the job.