Since 2007, otter researcher Jan Reed-Smith’s work with the East African Otter Project (EAOP) has concentrated on a little-known park located in the southwest corner of Lake Victoria. Rich with elephants, giraffes, chimps, hippos, crocodiles, and otters-Rubondo National Park is one of the few places where the historic Lake Victoria shoreline forests still exist.
As fish poaching has increased over the past two years due to poverty, poor land management, and an increase in fishermen from other areas-the East African Otter Project has stepped up efforts to work with local communities on protecting natural resources on Rubondo Island. With support from the Columbus Zoo, the EAOP provides books in Swahili and organizes field trips to Rubondo Island for members of local Conservation Clubs. Tanzanian Hobokela Mwanjengwa received a scholarship from the Columbus Zoo to attend one year of training at the African College of Wildlife Management- training that will help her work effectively with local communities on sustainable use of their natural resources and an improved quality of life.Article provided by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, from their 2010 “Commitment to Conservation” report, edited by Rebecca Rose.