Serengeti Watch was initially formed to oppose a commercial highway across the Serengeti National Park. It is a permanent nonprofit organization that will monitor the Serengeti and bring world opinion and support to bear on vital issues.
We are a project of the Earth Island Institute, a highly respected 501(c)3 conservation organization that has earned the highest rating on Charity Navigator and an A Rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy.
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To build a strong coalition of support, advocacy, and funding for the Serengeti ecosystem, the people living around it, and adjacent reserves and protected areas.
Equally important as our advocacy role – the funding of development programs that help build a model of sustainable tourism. Only with the understanding and involvement of local people can we achieve a lasting solution. This means bringing education, involvement, and tangible benefits to them.
A Unique Role
The campaign to stop the Serengeti highway made it clear – the Serengeti can survive only if the world wills it to survive. The Serengeti needs a permanent broad-based coalition of support into the future.
Serengeti Watch fills a niche and plays a role that other organizations cannot:
- Focus: Serengeti Watch is the only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to the long-term ecological integrity of the Serengeti ecosystem.
- Independence: Though our aim is to support the Tanzanian government in its protection of the Serengeti, not being based in Tanzania gives us an advantage. Organizations with offices in Tanzania must be cautious about raising issues and influencing policy decisions. We do not – and for this reason we can play unique and valuable role.
- Worldwide Support: As with our Stop the Serengeti Highway campaign, we can use social media to rally world opinion, petition the government of Tanzania, bring attention to media within and without Tanzania, and enhance the work of other NGO’s.
- Funding: Our broad reach and selective focus gives us a powerful mechanism to raise funds for critical projects relating to the Serengeti ecosystem.
- Provide an early warning system – We have shown that an early alert to a threat can be a powerful way to mobilize support. It is crucial that this system stays in place.
- Connect world supporters, travelers, tour companies, local communities to raise awareness on important issues facing the Serengeti.
- Raise funds for projects that support local people living near the Serengeti ecosystem, especially projects that increase their participation in conservation and their benefits from tourism.
- Partner with existing conservation organizations, the travel industry, and local Maasai communities and leaders.
- Reinforce a culture of awareness and appreciation among Tanzanians for their heritage. This includes how much the country depends on revenue and jobs from international tourism, and how fragile its ecosystems really are.
- Help build a model of sustainable tourism that benefits all.
Serengeti Watch created a movement that has brought worldwide attention to the Serengeti highway and other critical issues facing the Serengeti ecosystem. Due to our efforts, and those of our supporters, we have put a temporary hold on the construction of a devastating commercial highway across the Serengeti National Park.
- developed social media with 60,000 Facebook followers, growing each day.
- conducted petitions with more than 75,000 signers from around the world.
- conducted an economic impact study showing how the highway will affect tourism.
- did a survey and petition of more than 300 international scientists.
- worked with the media all over the world to publicize the issue.
- started an International Serengeti Day
- worked with other NGOs in sharing our information and coordinating activities.
- raised funds for projects.
- been providing ongoing funding for a legal case in the East African Court of Justice.
- begun plans for more extensive action and project development: Tanzania Heritage Program.
- developed Serengeti Teachers Education Program (STEP) and conducted first program, with students and teachers.
Boyd Norton is a writer and photographer of 15 critically acclaimed books, including four on Africa. He is currently working on a book on the Serengeti ecosystem, the product of more than forty-five safaris over a period of twenty-five years.. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, devoted to saving the last mountain gorillas. He is currently a director of Baikal Watch, dedicated to protecting Lake Baikal and other Siberian wilderness.
Among numerous accolades, he received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency, presented to him by Robert Redford, for his “important, exciting environmental photography and writing.” Outdoor Photography Magazine (U.K.) recently selected him as one of the 40 most influential photographers in the world.
David Blanton has been traveling to East Africa for the past forty years. He lived in East Africa for seven years, five years in Kenya and two in Uganda, where he was a Peace Corps volunteer. He is the author of an acclaimed social studies program sponsored by the Swiss government for Utalii College in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1983, Dave founded Voyagers International, a nature and photo tour company whose clients included leading museums, universities, conservation organizations, and professional photographers. Voyagers merged with a larger company after twenty years.
In 1995, he founded the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) which brought together leading tour companies to promote responsible tourism and has to date raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Galapagos. www.igtoa.org He also produced and directed a series films on the Galapagos Islands and conservation: www.igtoa.org/save
Jim Fowler, one of the world’s best known naturalists, has presented information about wildlife and wilderness to the American public on television for more than 40 years. He first served with Marlin Perkins as co-host and later became host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and also hosted Mutual of Omaha’s Spirit of Adventure. Those programs received many awards including four Emmys and an endorsement by the National PTA for family viewing. In addition to ongoing appearances on many network talk shows, Fowler was the wildlife correspondent for NBC’s Today Show since 1988 and he was a regular on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Jim Fowler is actively involved in a nationwide conservation education program conducted at the local community level. This includes personal appearances in numerous cities each year to share conservation related messages.
Berry Blanton was born in Nairobi and grew up in the U.S. where he studied communications at the University of Maryland. He has extensive experience in digital and social media, including the direction and photography of award-winning films, web design for top media companies, and social media marketing. He is currently the Director of Digital Media Marketing at the largest outdoor magazine publishing company in the U.S. He has traveled to East Africa frequently and directed a film on an educational program in Tanzania.
About Earth Island Institute
The Institute was found by America’s conservation icon, the late David Brower. For 25 years, Earth Island Institute has been a hub for grassroots campaigns dedicated to conserving, preserving, and restoring the ecosystems on which our civilization depends.
Its Project Support program acts as an incubator for start-up environmental projects, giving crucial assistance to groups and individuals with new ideas for promoting ecological sustainability. Since its founding, it has provided fiscal sponsorship to more than 100 projects around the globe.