The SFS Center for

Wildlife Management Studies




The SFS Center for Wildlife Management Studies in Tanzania is a hub of research where SFS students and faculty collaborate with local stakeholders to investigate issues of conservation and human-wildlife conflict in the nearby communities and protected areas.

Located on the escarpment of Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley, the Center is situated amidst some of the most critical savanna ecosystems in the world. Within a short drive from the Center are Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, as well as many community conservation areas and wildlife migratory corridors and dispersal areas.

Issues we focus on


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Semester Program

Wildlife Management Studies

This semester program examines the dynamic and complex real-world environmental issues on the ground in Tanzania. Concepts in wildlife management, behavioral ecology, impacts and adaptation to climate change, human-wildlife conflict, and community-based conservation come alive through field work, community interaction and relationships, and multi-day excursions. Learn More
Fall 2018


August 27 - December 5

Spring 2019


January 28 - May 8

Combine sessions and spend the summer with SFS!
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Summer Session I

Wildlife Management and Conservation

Examine the complexity of wildlife conservation using the principles of ecology, natural resource management, and socioeconomics. Learn More
Summer 2019


June 3 - July 3

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Summer Session II

Techniques for Wildlife Field Research

Learn a suite of field research techniques for studying wildlife ecology and assessing conservation policies and practices. Learn More
Summer 2018

In The Field

July 9 - August 8

Summer 2019


July 8 - August 7

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Who We Are

The Center is led by research scientist and faculty member Dr. Bernard Kissui. Dr. Kissui is from the Singida region in central Tanzania and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in 2008. He has been engaged in research on lion population dynamics and human-lion conflicts in Tanzania since 2003. The Center’s faculty includes John Kioko, Ph.D. (Wildlife Ecology), John Mwamhanga, M.S. (Environmental Policy), and Christian Kiffner, Ph.D. (Wildlife Management).

Alumni Q&A

Jacalyn Beck

Tanzania/Kenya Fall '10

I would tell every prospective SFS student to never give up on themselves or their goals.

Jacalyn is currently a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University and working in the RECaP Lab (Research on the Ecology of Carnivores and their Prey ). She returned to Tanzania this summer to investigate how cows and other livestock alter their behavior in locations of high predation risk.

Read More

Our Research

The Center for Wildlife Management Studies is situated amidst Tanzania’s national parks, conservation areas, and critical migratory corridors and dispersal areas for wildlife species such as elephant, wildebeest, giraffe, and zebra. These areas are also home to communities including Maasai, Iraqw, Hadzabe, and other groups whose rapidly changing lifestyles and growing populations now pose a challenge to the long-term conservation of wildlife and other natural resources.

Research at the Center for Wildlife Management Studies focuses on the drivers of habitat degradation and land-use change and direct exploitation of natural resources, as well as their implications for wildlife conservation and local economies. Faculty and student researchers work with members of the community to evaluate the management of wildlife and other natural resources, producing data that are essential for the coexistence of humans, livestock, and wildlife, and thus to a sustainable future for Tanzania.

Key Research Examples
  • Population dynamics and ecology of key wildlife species
  • Effectiveness of different forms of protection/conservation for wildlife and humans
  • Drivers of land and resource degradation and mitigation strategies
  • Perceptions of environment, conservation, and wildlife
  • Dynamics and implications of bushmeat and ivory trades
  • Role of tourism in local livelihoods and conservation
  • Human-wildlife conflict mitigation strategies
Select Publications

Kiffner, C., Hopper, R., & Kioko, J. (2016). Trends in seasonal population densities of wildlife species in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology, 54(3), 383-388.

Koziarski, A., Kissui, B., & Kiffner, C. (2016). Patterns and correlates of perceived conflict between humans and large carnivores in Northern Tanzania. Biological Conservation, 199, 41-50.

Okello, M. M., & Novelli, M. (2014). Tourism in the East African Community (EAC): Challenges, opportunities, and ways forward. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 14(1-2), 53-66. Historic-Kenya

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I could not have asked for more exciting adventures in the field.

Having been in Moyo Hill for almost two months now and having explored several of the best parks in the country, I can attest that they are some of the most incredible places in the world. From the breathtaking views of the Great Rift Valley, to being a trunk’s-length distance from a herd of wild elephants, I could not have asked for more exciting adventures in the field.

Hayley Benson
University of Maryland, College Park, Tanzania Spring '17
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Community Collaboration

The SFS Center for Wildlife Management Studies works closely with local community members, governmental bodies, non-governmental agencies, and other conservation partners. Local community members and government officials play an important role in guiding the Center’s research strategy. With the results of our research, we offer data and recommendations to community stakeholders, working collaboratively to help monitor and manage habitat degradation and land-use changes while finding balance between economic and conservation goals.

Additionally, our students often enjoy soccer games, day-stays, cultural festivals, and other events with community members. Students participate in volunteer projects in local schools, attend village markets, and interview members of the community as part of their research.

Local Community Partners

  • Local tribal communities such as the Iraqw, Maasai, Waarusha, and Hadzabe
  • Authorities of protected areas including Tanzania's national parks (Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park), community-based conservation entities (Burunge Wildlife Management Area, Randilen Wildlife Management Area), Manyara Ranch Conservancy, and Ngorongoro Conservation Areas Authority
  • A vast array of governmental organizations and NGOs working on wildlife conservation, tourism, and human-wildlife conflict
  • The World Wildlife Fund

Contributing to the Community

  • Environmental awareness and education in wildlife management and conservation, wildlife population dynamics and movement
  • Scientific data and recommendations that are considered when setting sustainable resource management and conservation policies
  • Stewardship of natural resources through work with local farmers and pastoral communities, NGOs, and governmental agencies
  • Additional data to contribute to long-term monitoring of species like elephants and carnivores
  • Employment opportunities for local community members

Life at the Center


Moyo Hill Camp

Students live at Moyo Hill Camp, a fenced facility nestled among native trees, surrounded by maize plantations and other crop fields. The area is world-renowned for its beauty, geography, history, and wildlife. The camp is part of the small community of Rhotia, where students enjoy daily interaction with neighbors. Walking, jogging, soccer, and socializing outside of the camp round out daily life at the Center.

Around the Center

  • Students live in bandas (cabins) made up of 4-person suites
  • Private bathroom in each suite
  • Dining and social activity center
  • Outdoor pavilions for lounging and studying
  • Classroom and library
  • Computer room
  • Space for soccer and volleyball