Protecting Chumbe Island Nature Reserve from increased poaching threats due to COVID-19 pandemic, through re-assignment of local rangers, skills development of youth fishers, and sustaining its conservation activities

Chumbe Island Coral Park
Publicado: 14 Junio 2023
Última edición: 14 Junio 2023
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As a not-for-profit, privately managed nature reserve in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP) has been the first financially sustainable Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the world, entirely self-financed through ecotourism for nearly 30 years. For the first time in CHICOP`s history, the successful MPA management model was threatened by a worldwide collapse of the tourism sector and funding loss due to COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 - 2021. Through an emergency fund from the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Rapid Response Grant financed by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, CHICOP ensured that conservation management and biodiversity protection on Chumbe Island not only continued during the COVID-19 crises but also strengthened relationships with other MPAs in the archipelago and enabled skill capacity building for local youth and women.


África Oriente y África del Sur
Scale of implementation
Arrecifes coralinos
Bosques costeros
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Pradera marina
Ciencia y investigación
Comunicación y divulgación
Especies y la extinción
Gestión de residuos
Gestión y planificación de áreas protegidas y conservadas
Gobernanza de las áreas protegidas y conservadas
Servicios ecosistémicos
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Evaluación del estado de las especies
Seguimiento e investigación de especies
Manejo / Remoción de Especies Invasoras
Incremento de temperatura
Acidificación de los océanos
Cambio estacional
Mareas altas (tormentas)
Especies invasoras
Sustainable development goals
ODS 13 - Acción por el clima
ODS 14 - Vida submarina
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
Aichi targets
Meta 1: Aumento de la sensibilization sobre la biodiversidad
Meta 2: Valores de biodiversidad integrados
Meta 8: Reducción de la contaminación
Meta 9: Especies exóticas invasoras prevenidas y controladas
Meta 11: Áreas protegidas y conservadas
Meta 14: Los servicios ecosistemicos
Meta 19: Intercambio de información y conocimiento


Mjini Magharibi Region, Tanzania
Mostrar en “Planeta protegido”


Through extensive outreach and environmental education programs implemented since the start of the Chumbe project (1990s), there were almost no reported cases of poaching prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic, however, halted tourism which many people in Zanzibar depended upon for their income. The lack of alternative income opportunities led to ecological and economic challenges. A dramatic increase in poaching attempts and the pressure on fish stocks for food and income was documented by the CHICOP rangers. Additionally, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, half of the workforce of the CHICOP transitioned to home-based working and stipend-supported leave, posing risks to the sustainable continuation of conservation activities that had been maintained for nearly 30 years.


  • Local fishing communities’ livelihoods through preservation of resources
  • CHICOP conservation team
  • Young local individuals who were trained as rangers
  • Local individuals through employment opportunities
  • Locals, public sectors, NGOs and international students

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

To sustain the conservation project successfully, raising awareness and fostering positive mindsets for sustainable biodiversity conservation are essential, and can be achieved through extensive outreach and education, as well as ensuring community engagement and involvement at all stages. CHICOP implements on-going EE programs and actively collaborates with representatives from neighboring communities, and this approach has allowed Chumbe Island to become the first financially self-sustaining MPA in the world, receiving acclaim and awards for its successful operations spanning nearly three decades. The combination of sustainable environmental education programs financed through ecotourism and decision-making based on community engagement has been instrumental in the park’s achievements and recognition.


  • Safeguarding Chumbe's unique biodiversity in the Coral Reef Sanctuary and Closed Forest Reserve, by tackling the increased wildlife poaching risk experienced through the pandemic. The conservation team was expanded to ensure daily, pro-active, educative patrols and encroachment issues were addressed. Environmental Education programs continued involving over 400 fishers from 12 fishing villages in Unguja.
  • Preservation of Chumbe's important function as a fisheries nursery ground benefiting fishing communities through spillover and restocking of adjacent fishing grounds. Although many economic activities collapsed during the COVID-19 pandemic, nearby fisher communities maintained their livelihoods through continued fishing in non-protected areas.
  • Skills development of 10 local youth involving six months internship placements for two young ocean heroes, while empowering a young Zanzibari woman to become the first female ranger trained in Zanzibar. All interns and trainees participated in conservation and education work, and undertook guiding activities during that period, trained and supervised on-site by the Head Ranger.
  • CHICOP held a first ranger symposium facilitated ‘By Rangers - For Rangers’ which strengthened the relationship with other Marine Conservation Areas in Zanzibar. The symposium also facilitated the creation of a Zanzibar Ranger Forum on WhatsApp, with 22 members from all five MCAs in Unguja.

Contribuido por

Imagen de sasrashid11_42923

Salim Salim Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd (CHICOP)

Other contributors

Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP)
Graduate Institute of Geneva