The Ugalla Game Reserve is characterized by two primary ecosystems: an extensive miombo woodland and large floodplains running along the Reserve’s four rivers. During the rains, much of the Reserve is inaccessible due to extensive flooding. In the dry season, however, Ugalla forms a haven for much of the wildlife from surrounding areas.
Ugalla is well known for its crocodile, hippo, lion, sable, topi, roan, greater kudu and Defassa waterbuck. Ugalla is also home to Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, leopard, lion, baboon, buffalo, bushpig, dik-dik, East African bush duiker, eland, hyena, impala, jackal, oribi, ostrich, Bohor reedbuck, common reedbuck and warthog.
FCF has two permanent anti-poaching teams stationed in Ugalla. These teams report that bushmeat poaching, especially of hippopotamus, and illegal elephant ivory poaching are the two biggest concerns in the area.
Tanzania authorizes a six month season in Ugalla when licensed local wild honey gatherers and fishermen are allowed access to harvest these specific resources. FCF rangers are generally the only other people in this area during those six months. In the extreme remote areas, it takes a dedicated patrol commander to maintain relationships with the local people while still addressing illegal poaching concerns appropriately.
FCF works with three districts around the Ugalla Game Reserve to implement community projects that benefit those living along the Reserve’s boundaries. These projects are designed in coordination with the villages, the district and the Wildlife Division. Past projects in this area have included building secondary schools, training and assisting beekeeping groups and conducting environmental awareness trainings together with the District Natural Resources Officer
Together with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), FCF began conducting a wet and dry season sample count of ungulates in Ugalla in 2007. This data was analyzed and compared to data that FCF gathered in 2010, and will continue to be compared to data that FCF intends to continue gathering every three years. This data will enable FCF to calculate population trends which will assist with wildlife management in Ugalla.