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Terat Village Initiative

Terat Village is 40 kilometers from Tarangire National Park; "Too far to walk in one day,". Yet what happens in Terat bears mightily on the future of the park, for it lies in the middle of the Simanjiro Plains where thousands of wildebeest come to give birth each rainy season. The grass here is rich in phosphorous, a mineral crucial to lactating mothers. And the cows also prosper here. But in Terat, as elsewhere on the plains, immigrants and local Maasai have begun farming.

Terat Village Initiative

The Terat Village Initiative was launched in 2005 by a collective group of tour operators, including Oliver's Camp, specifically to halt the expansion of this unsustainable land use pattern. Currently, the bulk of the Initiative's financial support goes directly to the village to fund the construction of its primary and secondary schools. In exchange, the village has agreed not to farm on the plains. The Initiative also supports a village anti-poaching team. Four Game Scouts have been provided with bicycles, binoculars, telephones and salaries. The scouts patrol each day, systematically covering six different routes and reporting any poaching or charcoal burning incidents to authorities in the Wildlife Division and in Tarangire National Park. Although they have no legal right to stop the perpetrators, and response from the authorities is limited, the scouts are a deterrent: "If they see us and know we are watching, they will just go somewhere else." Meanwhile the village has become more proactive, pursuing court cases over land ownership issues with several immigrant farmers and hiring a surveyor to settle boundary disputes with a neighboring village. And, for now, the wildebeest still have access to the grazing and calving grounds they've used for a million years.

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